Extracts of African Plants as Potential Antitrypanosomal Agents

Document Type



My research project involved finding new anti-trypanosomal agents to combat the African Trypanosomiasis disease, also known as African Sleeping Sicknesss, by screening extracts of African plants received from the Walter Reed Army Institute for Research and the Laboratory of Dr. J. Ayafor at the University of Dschang in Cameroon. This research is part of a large international effort to identify useful medicinal agents from native plants. It is funded by the Fogarty Division of NIH and is one of seven programs of the International Cooperative Biodiversity Grant (ICBG).

African Sleeping Sickness is a prevalent disease that is a daily threat to more than sixty million men, women, and children in thirty-six countries of sub-Saharan Africa. It is currently treated with suramin, pentamidine, melarsoprol, and eflorinithine, but since these agents have used for many years, studies have shown resistance is rising. There is an immense need for cost-effective new agents against sleeping sickness in order to control the disease.

By working at Haskins Laboratory along with Dr. Bacchi and Donna Sarno, Lab Supervisor, I was able to play an important role in the initial screening of plant extracts. This research is fundamental to finding trypanocidal activity of West African medicinal plant extracts.

Information about the Student Author

Class of 2004, Major: Biology

Summary of Research Experience

This project provided me with the opportunity to be a part of the team that is attempting to find medicinal agents from native West African plants. During the course of my research, I was able to study an infectious disease that I initially did not know anything about, as well as aspects of parasitology, botany, and epidemiology in third world countries. I would like to thank the Eugene M. Lang Foundation for this opportunity.

Dissemination of Results

My research was shared with the Society of Fellows of Dyson College. My papper has been submitted for publication to the Transactions of the Society of Fellows of Dyson College.

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Cyrus J. Bacchi, Professor of Biology, Director of Haskins Lab

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