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According to the World Health Organization, one child dies from malaria every minute, and half of the world's population remains at risk of infection. Because this threat is expected to rise as drug resistance continues to eliminate established treatment options, the search for novel anti-malarial therapies has intensified. Here we describe a therapy that prevents Plasmodium falciparum from inducing the phosphorylation of erythrocyte band 3 by an erythrocyte tyrosine kinase, among others. At a time when drug resistant strains of P. falciparum are continually emerging, a therapy that targets a host enzyme that cannot be mutated by the parasite could lead to a mutation-resistant treatment for this devastating disease.
Funding provided through a generous grant by:
Please note that each attendee who is (1) a current ACS member, or (2) a poster presenter or (3) a Zoetis employee will receive two complimentary drink tickets. Undergraduate and graduate students are encouraged to participate.
Karson is a Purdue graduate from the IPFW campus where he received degrees in biology and chemistry. He then pursued a M.D./Ph.D. degree program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), however after 2 years of medical school he decided to solely pursue his research activities. His research focused on studying the cell death pathways encompassing apoptosis and necrosis through identifying small molecule modulators of known and novel cellular targets via high-throughput screening. His work touched on many different disease areas including oncology, neurodegeneration, ischemia/reperfusion injuries and anti-microbials. During his 4 years in the lab of Paul Hergenrother, his discovery efforts led to the publication of 13 articles (peaking with the October 2006 cover story in Nature Chemical Biology), the filing of 11 U.S. patents, the creation of one startup company and the out-licensing of 4 other classes of molecules to various pharmaceutical/biotech companies. One of these molecules, PAC-1, is currently in Phase I human clinical trials.
After he graduated with a Ph.D. in Biochemistry, he became the director of the UIUC high-throughput screening facility where he created the facility from scratch with a small NIH facility grant. This HTS facility provided assistance, compound libraries and the equipment required to screen purified biomolecules, crude cellular lysates, whole bacterial cells and whole mammalian cells for inter- and intra-university researchers along with small biotech companies.
Karson then took a position with Johnson & Johnson where he created another high-throughput screening facility at J&J's Jacksonville site. In this role, he managed the HTS and combinatorial chemistry lab which was tasked to identify drugs/biomarkers, create combination (drug + device) products and study the fundamental physiological interactions between cells/tissues and newly identified drugs, materials and medical devices. During his time with J&J, Karson was able to publish 3 journal articles and was an inventor on 28 filed U.S. patents.
Currently, Karson is the managing director of the Purdue University Center for Drug Discovery. The Center comprises over 100 faculty and 700 researchers whose work has resulted in over 40 therapeutic agents in the Purdue pipeline, 15 of which are in human clinical trials. He oversees the day to day operations of the Center and provides subject matter expertise to the wide variety of research being performed within the Center and by affiliated faculty.
KACS hosted its annual poster session titled "Sustainable Science - Recycle a Poster" at Bell's Eccentric Café in downtown Kalamazoo on Nov. 10, 2015. This event is now in its fifth year and was made possible through a generous grant from Zoetis. It not only features research posters but typically also hosts a keynote speaker during this very social gathering. Poster setup, registration and mingling began at 5 PM. Over 70 people enjoyed the atmosphere of this public event; 51% of the attendees were ACS members.
The audience was excited to learn about the latest efforts to control and cure malaria from the keynote speaker. At 7 pm Dr. Karson S. Putt began his seminar, which was titled "Inhibition of an erythrocyte tyrosine. kinase prevents Plasmodium falciparum egress and terminates parasitemia". In his role as Managing Director, Putt oversees over 110 faculty members and over 600 students at the Purdue University Center for Drug Discovery. During the presentation he explained how inhibition of a specific enzyme can arrest malaria. This is a breakthrough finding. According to the World Health Organization, one child dies from malaria every minute, and half of the world’s population remains at risk of infection. Because this threat is expected to rise as drug resistance continues to eliminate established treatment options, the search for novel anti-malarial therapies has intensified. There are over 200 million infections of malaria every year, which is endemic in Africa, South and Central America, and South East Asia.
The original speaker for this event was Kristina Kesely. However, just 9 days before her visit to Kalamazoo she received word that human trial studies in Vietnam were approved by the Vietnamese Ministry of Health and Purdue IRB. Within less than a week's notice Kesely and her team had to prepare for a month-long visit to South East Asia to gather data for their novel therapy. This was an exciting development but it also meant that someone else needed to fill in for her. Organizers were happy to learn that Putt could step in on short notice.
Event visitors had a chance to enjoy hot appetizers and beer from 5 to 9 pm while listening to the keynote speech and reviewing the posters that were given by scientists from Kalamazoo College, Michigan State University, Western Michigan University, and Zoetis. There were 21 new or "recycled" (from a previous conference) posters, including a total of 15 student presenters. This year, there were also three cash prizes drawn from poster presenters who submitted their abstracts by November 4. The winners were Basil Ahmed, Wisam A. Alisawi and Harry Chanzu.