Dr. Roberta O'Connor

VETMD Vet Biomedical Science
College of Veterinary Medicine
Twin Cities
Project Title: 
Natural Product Drug Discovery for the Treatment of Diseases Caused by Apicomplexans

This laboratory focuses on natural product drug discovery for diseases caused by apicomplexan parasites. Because ocean flora and fauna are a rich source of unusual compounds, they screen marine sources for anti-parasitic compounds. One of the lab's compounds currently under investigation came from a symbiotic bacterium of shipworms, marine clams that eat wood. The parasites of interest are Cryptosporidium and Toxoplasma gondii. Once the compounds effective against these parasites, and that are not toxic to host cells, are identified, the researchers will try to identify the target of the compound using a variety of techniques such as forward genetics, RNA-seq, and proteomics. To improve the screening assays and parasite culture techniques, they work with intestinal organoids from a variety of species. Promising compounds are further investigated for their pharmacokinetic properties and efficacy in vivo.

Project Investigators

Fernanda Fumuso
Dr. Roberta O'Connor
Mary Piaskowski
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