LCNTDR welcomes eight new institutional members

23 Nov 2023

The London Centre for NTD Research (LCNTDR) is pleased to announce that it has welcomed eight new institutional members to the Centre. This increase in membership follows the Centre prioritising engagement with research institutions and universities in countries most affected by NTDs.

Professor Joanne Webster FMedSci, Director, LCNTDR, said: “Addressing neglected tropical diseases and achieving the global WHO NTD road map targets requires multisectoral and multidisciplinary collaboration, not just in programmes but also in research. The LCNTDR strategy for 2023–2030 emphasises the importance of engaging institutions in countries where NTDs have the highest burden to ensure that NTD research addresses the most pressing needs of affected communities. We are delighted to welcome eight new institutional members to the Centre in support of these objectives.”.

The new institutional members to the LCNTDR include:

C.K. Tedam University of Technology and Applied Sciences is a public university in the Upper East Region of Ghana, engaging in research for the socio-economic development of Ghana and beyond. The university brings expertise in schistosomes, trypanosomes, and soil-transmitted helminths through several research collaborations in Ghana.

Christian Medical College, Vellore, India, has played a significant role in NTD research for several decades with contributions towards the development of international treatment guidelines, participation in multi-national studies and trials, and through  collaborations with the Government of India to develop national guidelines and lead multi-centre studies. These include large scale population-based surveys and studies in geo-referenced communities on neurocysticercosis, soil-transmitted helminths, dengue and chikungunya and hospital-based surveys and outreach on snakebite envenomation, as well as clinical diagnosis and management of leishmaniasis, hydatid disease and deep mycosis.

Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana, is home to the Skin NTDs Research Group, let by Professor Richard Odame Phillips. The research team is made up of physicians, laboratory research scientists, study nurses, physiotherapists, Disease Control Officers, pharmacists, social scientists, economists and a network of Community Based Surveillance Volunteers in the disease endemic communities in Ghana. The team undertakes research into NTDs of the skin predominantly Buruli ulcer, yaws, leprosy, scabies, and their coinfections. Its main field of interest is in patient management through clinical trials, diagnostics and clinical immunological studies supported by basic sciences.

Scotland's Rural College (SRUC) is a public land-based research institution focused on agriculture and life sciences. Researchers at SRUC are active in NTD research initiatives, including molecular epidemiology and the evolution of insecticide resistance. Researchers at the College are also currently working on understanding the population genomics of Ascaris lumbricoides infecting endemic communities in Ethiopia, and have worked in collaboration with other LCNTDR members including Imperial College London, Ethiopian Public Health Institute, and the Natural History Museum.

South East Asian Ministers of Education Organisation, Regional Centre for Food and Nutrition (SEAMEO RECFON) conducts nutrition related research projects that link to parasite and helminth infection among different age groups including women and children.  A key current piece of work is an interdisciplinary research project, Action Against Stunting Hub funded by URKI GCRF which includes the role of parasite infection in determining the typology of stunting among under two children, partners on which include the Royal Veterinary College and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

The University of Dschang Molecular Parasitology and Entomology Unit primarily concentrates on NTDs, including human African trypanosomiasis, leishmaniasis, soil-transmitted helminthiasis, and schistosomiasis. Research projects conducted within this unit have received funding from various donors, including the Wellcome Trust, the European Foundation Initiative for Neglected Tropical Diseases, the French Research Institute for Sustainable Development, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, and the African Research Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases.

University of Papua New Guinea is dedicated to excellence and providing quality education, research, and service to Papua New Guinea and the Pacific. The University of Papua New Guinea is currently working to expand its research activities and improve linkages between cross-cutting issues, such as WASH, with more specific NTD research.

Welcome Sanger Institute, a non-profit British genomics and genetics research institute, primarily funded by the Wellcome Trust, has researchers with an established track record of using genomic approaches to understand the genetic diversity and life history traits of NTD pathogens. Current and past researchers have driven the generation of reference genomes and resources for many NTD pathogens, undertaken large-scale phylogenetic and population genetic analyses to reveal novel insights into the transmission and evolutionary history of NTDs, and are currently developing sequencing-based diagnostic and surveillance tools to enhance the management of NTDs.