The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), United Kingdom

LSHTM, founded by Sir Patrick Manson in 1899, specialises in public health and tropical medicine and is one of the world's leading public research universities, renowned for its research, postgraduate studies and continuing education in public and global health. Its research income has grown to more than £180 million per year from national and international funding sources including UK government and research councils, the European Commission, the Wellcome Trust and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. LHSTM's wide-ranging research talents, skills and experience cover the molecular, global, theoretical, applied, analytical and policy domains. Its 3,000 staff conduct research in more than 100 countries, deploying research on a real-time bases to respond to crises, developing innovative programmes for major health threats and training the next generation of public and global health leaders and researchers. LSHTM’s multidisciplinary team of experts includes clinicians, epidemiologists, statisticians, social scientists, molecular biologists and immunologists, whereby the school's main emphasis is on teaching and training.

LSHTM will lead the in vitro and in vivo studies.

Team members

Professor Simon Croft is a Professor of Parasitology in the Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases at LSHTM and was previously President of the British Society for Parasitology and R&D Director of DNDi. He has worked on the discovery and both pre-clinical and clinical development of anti-infective drugs in academia, industry and with public-private partnerships (PPPs) for over 40 years, with a particular interest in leishmaniasis. He has had active roles in the international scientific community include membership of scientific advisory boards for WHO, Product Development Partnerships (MMV, DNDi) and has advised major players in the pharmaceutical industry (GSK, Novartis, Pfizer), edits papers on anti-parasitic chemotherapy for three peer-reviewed journals and has published more than 300 peer-reviewed papers. His work has received funding from a host of sources including the MRC, Wellcome Trust and European Union. Most recently, as a project initiator, he was awarded an MRC Confidence in Concept grant to develop PCR-based assays for Leishmania for use with novel point-of-care molecular diagnostics, working alongside Dr Yardley (see below), Professor Krishna, Dr Staines and industrial collaborator, QuantuMDx.

Drawing on his extensive knowledge in this field, he will have an advising role on all aspects of the project.

Dr Vanessa Yardley is a member of the Drug Discovery Group (DDG) at LSHTM, alongside Professor Simon Croft. As an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Infectious & Tropical Disease she collaborates with many different partners, ranging from major pharmaceutical companies to individual academics, providing expertise and support for a variety of projects. The current focus of her research is on visceral leishmaniasis (VL), specifically animal models of infection. However Dr Yardley is an expert on kinetoplastid diseases: Human African Trypanosomiasis (aka African sleeping sickness), Chagas disease (caused by infection with Trypanosoma cruzi) and apicomplexan malaria (Plasmodium falciparum). The DDG is an acknowledged reference centre for kinetoplastid drug evaluation and works closely with other European institutes to standardise and establish best lab practices. This is crucial when working in drug discovery. Dr Yardley is actively involved in the teaching programme at LSHTM and sits on the LSHTM Ethics Committee. She also contributes to peer-reviewed journals and reference books and reviews articles for a number of journals.

She will be work package leader to supervise and conduct the in vivo studies.

Professor Neal Alexander has joint appointments, as Professor of Medical Statistics and Epidemiology at LSHTM, and as leader of the Biostatistics and Epidemiology Unit at the Centro Internacional de Entrenamiento e Investigaciones Medicas (CIDEIM) in Cali, Colombia, where he is based. He has more than 170 peer-reviewed publications, largely on field trials and other studies of vector-borne and parasitic diseases and on statistical and epidemiological methods. He is the theme leader for methodology in the MRC-funded Tropical Epidemiology Group at LSHTM and also the initiator of one of the three projects run by the NIH-funded Tropical Medicine Research Center (TMRC) at CIDEIM, on the under-reporting of CL. He has served as a statistician on several visceral leishmaniasis (VL) trials of the Leishmaniasis East Africa Platform and is fulfilling the same role for an ongoing MSF-funded trial of treatment in HIV-VL co-infected patients.

He will advise on study design, and oversee statistical analyses of the in vivo studies, of the efficacy studies on human clinical isolates and of the Phase I trial.