In partnership with the Leprosy Mission Ireland, effect:hope has launched R2STOP. This new and innovative initiative promotes and funds research into understanding the transmission of leprosy and other Neglected Tropical Diseases. It is this understanding that will ultimately equip us to break the chains of transmission that perpetuate these diseases.
Our current research agenda focuses on the following priorities:
- To understand human-to-human transmission.
- To discover the non-human hosts and their relationship to transmitting leprosy.
- To learn the specific genetic properties that increase the risk factors of leprosy.
- To understand the pathways of leprosy, where the hotspots are and why those regions are susceptible.
In 2016, research funding was awarded to six highly respected scientists:
Dr. Pushpendra Singh
is an Assistant Professor in the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Vadodara in India, identifying molecular markers for M. leprae transmission using comparative genomics and biomarkers for early detection of leprosy using comparative transcriptomics. He is tracking six armadillos which have been infected with M. leprae, four of which have developed an infection.
Prof. Kevin Robert Macaluso
is at Tulane University and works as the Mary Louise Martin Professor and in the Department of Pathobiological Sciences. He is also an adjunct member of the Department of Entomology, located in the Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station. His research is tracking the pathways of M. leprae, from the original zoonotic transmission from wild armadillos to intermediary organisms that pass the bacilli to humans.
Prof. Bouke de Jong
is the Head of the Unit of Mycobacteriology at the Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp. Her research is focused on the intensive investigation of the epidemiology of leprosy in Anjouan, the most endemic of the four islands in the Comoros. Her research will study specific interventions, helping medical teams target regions of risk.
Prof. Dr. Annemieke Geluk
is a member of the Initiative for Diagnostic and Epidemiological Assays for Leprosy. Her research provides insights into why large numbers of the population are immune to leprosy and, in return, understand which people
are at risk.
Dr. Rahul Sharma
is a Scientist Microbiologist (Molecular) in the National Hansen’s Disease Program in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Working in sequencing recovered DNA, the research provides a useful tool to understand how leprosy is transmitted and the dynamics of its networks.
Dr. JoAnn M. Tufariello
studies the pathways of leprosy to identify people with the highest risk. M. leprae does not grow on independent cultures, which makes the study of its characteristics very difficult. Dr. Tufariello has had critical breakthroughs that will help researchers create the bacteria in a lab setting.