Parasites infect billions of humans each year and cause several major diseases, largely in underserved populations in developing parts of the world. Malaria, in particular, is a leading cause of deaths worldwide, and its causative agents, Plasmodium parasites, are crafty as they have successfully eluded our defense mechanisms since they first infected us tens of thousands of years ago.
The Derbyshire Lab uses chemical tools and biological methods to uncover novel aspects of malaria parasite biology with the ultimate aim of identifying druggable targets. Projects range from developing assays for phenotypic and target-based screens – forward and reverse chemical genetics – to dissecting biological pathways and identifying small molecules with potential therapeutic value. Our interdisciplinary collaborative program integrates both novel and established methods to address target identification, which is one of the most challenging aspects of malaria drug discovery. Our lab’s goal is to globally interrogate parasite biology by using chemical biology, molecular biology, biochemistry and parasitology.