Wormfree World - Finding New Cures

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UC San DiegoBiologyMedicine
DOI: 10.18258/0035
$18,726
Raised
124%
Funded on 1/21/13
Successfully Funded
  • $18,726
    pledged
  • 124%
    funded
  • Funded
    on 1/21/13

About This Project

Hookworms affect the lives of more than 400,000,000 men, women and children around the world. The most effective drugs available today work only some of the time, on some of the worms. In fact, these drugs were originally developed for veterinary medicine, not for human treatment.

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What is the context of this research?

Hookworms affect the lives of more than 400,000,000 men, women and children around the world. The most effective drugs available today work only some of the time, on some of the worms. In fact, these drugs were originally developed for veterinary medicine, not for human treatment. Our goal at Wormfree World Institute, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit research center is to discover and develop urgently-needed drugs to free children from intestinal roundworms. We strive for a wormfree world, which we can accomplish with your help!

What is the significance of this project?

You can't always tell by looking at them. The boys and girls in the picture below are infected with parasites. Hookworms stunt their growth, fog their brains, and weaken their immune systems, making them more susceptible to HIV, TB and other infectious diseases. The number of people affected is greater than the combined populations of the United States and Canada. We believe that the cure for this disease is within our reach, and deserves our immediate attention.

What are the goals of the project?

Using high throughput screening, we will screen 1,000 promising drug compounds directly on human intestinal hookworms- not on worms found in farm animals. Our bench scientist works in a research space in San Diego, and we have assembled everything we need to begin the first phase of the drug discovery process. Screens will be carried out in a 96-well format containing hookworms, experimental compound, and liquid hookworm medium. The impact of experimental compounds will be assessed based on parasite motility, size, and coloration. Post-screening, we anticipate designing an in-depth drug development effort around our best lead compound(s).

Budget

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100% of our budget will be used in the lab to test potential cure compounds.

Meet the Team

Raffi V. Aroian
Raffi V. Aroian
Professor of BIological Sciences; Chairman of Wormfree World Institute

Affiliates

B.S, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Ph.D, California Institute of Technology
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Rita Lim
Rita Lim
Yan Hu
Yan Hu
Richard Lin
Richard Lin
Board Member
Arash Safavi
Arash Safavi
Research Scientist

Team Bio

Raffi Aroian, founder and Chairman of the Wormfree World Institute completed his postdoctoral studies at University of California, San Francisco, where he was a Helen Hayes Whitney Fellow and a Senior Postdoctoral Fellow of the American Cancer Society. He is currently Professor of Biological Sciences at University of California San Diego, where he has been a faculty for over 15 years. He was a recipient of a New Investigators Award in Toxicological Sciences from the Burroughs-Wellcome Foundation and a Beckman Foundation Young Investigator. He has published more than 40 papers in scientific journals on roundworms.

Raffi V. Aroian

Raffi Aroian, founder and Chairman of the Wormfree World Institute completed his postdoctoral studies at University of California, San Francisco, where he was a Helen Hayes Whitney Fellow and a Senior Postdoctoral Fellow of the American Cancer Society. He is currently Professor of Biological Sciences at University of California San Diego, where he has been a faculty for over 15 years. He was a recipient of a New Investigators Award in Toxicological Sciences from the Burroughs-Wellcome Foundation and a Beckman Foundation Young Investigator. He has published more than 40 papers in scientific journals on roundworms.

Rita Lim

Dr Rita Lim: Rita has 10 years of pharmaceutical drug discovery research experience in multiple roles, including Principal Investigator, Senior Scientist, Project Leader, and Lab Manager. During Rita’s research career, she initiated multiple projects, including falcipain (malaria) and hepatitis C NS3-4a protease which resulted in a successful partnership with Schering-Plough and the discovery and development of bocepravir, a first-in-class cure in combination therapy for hepatitis. Most recently, Rita has taken various roles in the business of science, from product marketing, product management, business development, support, and sales. Rita serves as Senior Director, Business Development for Proteros US, a contract research organization that provides structures and data for drug discovery.

Rita has been successful in obtaining an SBIR grant for inhibitors of falcipain as antimalarials, co-authored 21 papers and is a co-inventor on 11 patents and two book chapters. Rita is co-editor of the book series Pharmaceutical Outsourcing: Discovery and Preclinical Services.

Rita is Founder of PGC200, a non-profit organization dedicated to learning and networking for life science professionals. She is on the Industry Advisory Board for the Southern California Biotech Center. Rita was previously co-Chair of the Education and Career Development Committee at SABPA, Board Director and Chair of the Science and Medicine Committee with Susan G. Komen for the Cure San Diego .

Yan Hu

Dr Yan Hu received her PhD in Microbiology and Molecular Biology in 2006 from Wuhan University, China. She joined Dr Raffi V. Aroian's lab at the University of California, San Diego at the end of 2006 as a postdoctoral scholar. In 2011, she became an assistant project scientist and continued her research work in Dr Aroian’s lab. Her research interests are in the pathogenesis and therapy of soil transmitted helminths.

Richard Lin

Dr Richard Lin is the founder and CEO of ExploraBioLabs , a San Diego-based contract research company focusing on pharmacology research and pharmacology incubator lab space. Dr. Lin founded ExploraBioLabs in 2004, after he recognized the need for many biotech companies to outsource pharmacology research. Today, ExploraBioLabs conducts research for many biotech companies and manages 35,000 sq ft of comparative medicine research lab space. Prior to founding Explora, Dr. Lin had lead drug discovery and pharmacology research in companies including Ansata Therapeutics, Genset Corp, Corvas International and Axys Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Lin conducted his postdoctoral research at UC San Diego Cancer Center, and received his PhD in Zoology from UC Berkeley.

Arash Safavi

Arash received his B.S. in Molecular Biology from the University of California, San Diego in 2011. During his undergraduate time at UCSD he began research in the Aroian Lab on assay development for drug screening against intestinal parasites. He is currently working towards Biology M.S. candidacy in the same lab and as a research scientist for Wormfree World Institute, working directly to discover and develop new pharmaceutical therapies for human intestinal parasites.


Project Backers

  • 65Backers
  • 124%Funded
  • $18,726Total Donations
  • $199.21Average Donation
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