Evaluation of anti-Leishmania properties of lactam organic molecules for the treatment of leishmaniasis

Student: Kenlei Gunther

Mentor: Blaise Dondji


Leishmania are protozoan parasites that cause a complex of diseases known as leishmaniasis. There are six species causing disease in humans: L. tropica, L. major, L. mexicana, L. braziliensis, L. donovani, and L. infantum. We use L. major in lab. It is the causative agent of cutaneous leishmaniasis and found in sparsely inhabited regions in west and central Africa, the Middle East, and India. In cutaneous leishmaniasis, sand fly vectors transmit the parasite through a bite. Ulcers appear at the site of the sand fly bite. Severity of ulcers depend on age and other factors. 350 million people worldwide are at risk of becoming infected with leishmaniasis. Surprisingly, there is an overlap between leishmaniasis infected areas and areas of increasing human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections. Thirty-five countries have reported co-infections. Current anti-Leishmania drugs are toxic with serious side effects. Consequently, there’s a need to develop safer therapeutic methods. Organic compounds that belong to the lactam group were tested in vitro to identify potential anti-Leishmania drugs. Assays were carried out to evaluate the activity of tested compounds against Leishmania parasites. 1% DMSO was used as negative control and Amphotericin B was used as positive control. DMSO negative control is justified by its use to dissolve candidate compounds. Amp B is one drug used to treat human leishmaniasis. Alamar Blue dye was used to evaluate activity of compounds. In living cells, Alamar Blue is reduced from blue to red and wells show high optical densities such as 0.85 after the spectrophotometer read.


4 thoughts on “Evaluation of anti-Leishmania properties of lactam organic molecules for the treatment of leishmaniasis”

  1. Hi Kenlei! I feel like I actually got to see you in person – almost. I really appreciated the Xs you put on the figure to help guide me. Congratulations on finding a compound that is worthy of further testing. I hope it works out. Can you tell me why you choose to use compounds from the lactam group? Is there a reason you are specifically looked at those compounds? You might have explained it but I missed it. Thanks for the presentation. Take care.

    1. Hello Dr. Poulson. I didn’t get to choose the compounds to be tested. Dr. Beng created them and I tested them. Hope you’re doing well.

  2. Great job, Kenlei! You did an especially good job of guiding us through the key points in each graph, and explaining the significance of each part clearly. Congratulations on identifying a promising compound. I look forward to seeing how this project unfolds in the coming years as you and/or other in the lab investigate cytotoxicity of the compound. Hope you are doing well.

  3. Hey Kenlei! So this is the famous study you were working on for the past year! I’m so happy and proud of you! I actually learned a lot from this presentation and hope that further research can be done to evaluate the toxicity of the TKB 11 195B compound you discovered. Hope you’re doing well! Take care and stay safe!

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