Kovi Bessoff, MMG graduate student in Dr. Chris Huston’s lab, recently was presented with the Young Investigator Award at the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene meeting in Atlanta, GA.

Mr. Bessoff presented his research entitled “Improving therapuetics for the Treatment of Cryptosporidiosis using High Throughput Methods.”

Regarding his work, Mr. Bessoff said, “We study a parasite called Cryptosporirium parvum which, along with another closely related parasite, causes a diarrheal disease known as cryptosporidiosis. The disease is a leading cause of diarrhea in the developing world, and is particularly devastating to AIDS patients and little children. Currently there are no vaccines or effective treatments available, and the high cost of drug development as well as technical challenges associated with studying the parasite make the discovery of new drugs very difficult. We developed a system to test existing drugs for activity against the parasite with the hopes of identifying existing medications that could also be used to treat cryptosporidiosis. We discovered that the cholesterol lowering drug itavastatin has good activity against the parasite, and we believe that it inhibits C. parvum growth by the same mechanism that it employs to reduce cholesterol levels. We think this is sufficient evidence to conduct human clinical trials of itavastatin for the treatment of cryptosporidiosis.”

Congratulations on getting your important research recognized!

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