On this edition of FOCUS In Sound, we focus on research on a devastating disease that threatens millions of people in 36 countries in sub-Saharan Africa—Human African Trypanosomiasis, better known as African Sleeping Sickness. It’s caused by a parasite transmitted to the bloodstream of mammalian hosts by the bite of an insect vector, in this case, the tsetse fly. As with malaria and other insect-borne parasitic diseases,
elucidating the complex mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis and transmission of the disease is critical to understanding how to fight it.
Joining us on FOCUS In Sound today is a young investigator who is doing just that, conducting basic biomolecular research on the parasites called trypanosomes. His group’s work may lead to new therapies for a condition that hasn’t seen significant progress in treatment for a long time. Dr. Kent Hill is professor of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics at UCLA. He was named a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Investigator in the Pathogenesis of Infectious Diseases in 2008, with the five-year award funding his research into cell-to-cell communication and social motility in the pathogenesis and development of African trypanosomes.