Dr Colin Sutherland BSc PhD MPH

Reader in Parasitology

About Colin Sutherland

Reader in Parasitology, Clinical Scientist

Background

Colin is a biologist and parasitologist who joined the School in January 1998 to work as a Post-Doc with Professor Geoffrey Targett on the gametocytes of Plasmodium falciparum. Subsequent Wellcome-funded studies examined the transmission-blocking effects of artemisinin combination therapy on P. falciparum in The Gambia from 2000 to 2002. This lead to Colin developing a keen interest in parasite drug resistance. He is HEFCE-supported at LSHTM, but works closely with Public Health England in the PHE Malaria Reference Laboratory, LSHTM, and is and honorary Clinical Scientist in the Department of Clinical Parasitology at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases.

Colin is currently:

Affiliation

Centres

Teaching

Colin contributes lectures to students studying for the Immunology of infectious Diseases (IID), Control of Infectious Diseases (CID) and Molecular Biology of infectious Diseases (MBID) MSc degrees. He has also supervised many MSc summer research projects in the laboratory.

Colin's lab group has been involved in training researchers from a number of malaria endemic countries in techniques for molecular genotyping of malaria parasites. Recent trainees and students have hailed from Guinea-Conakry, Indonesia, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, The Philippines, Senegal, Sudan, Tanzania, Thailand, The Gambia and Mali, and include scientists, clinicians, doctoral students and research assistants. 

Colin also contributes to a number of PhD examinations each year. Recent candidates have included students from Universities of Keele, Oxford and Liverpool.

Recently completed doctoral students in the lab include:

Nazma Habib Khan (Pakistan) - "Population genetics of Leishmania causing cutaneous leishmaniasis in north-western Pakistan."
Completed: April 2013

Bismarck Dinko (Ghana) - "Longitudinal studies of anti-gametocyte antibodies in Ghanaian school children."
Completed: June 2013

Ifeyinwa Chijioke-Nwauche (Nigeria) - "Efficacy of artemether-lumefantrine and resistance marker selection in HIV positive and negative adults in southern Nigeria."
Completed: January 2014

Gisela Henriques (Portugal) - "New genetic markers of artemisinin resistance in human malaria parasites."
Completed: June 2015

Mary Grace Dacuma (The Philippines) - "Epidemiology of malaria in the provinces of Sarangani, South Cotabato and Tawi-Tawi in Mindanao, The Philippines "
Completed: June 2015

Current doctoral candidates:

Ifeyinwa Aniebo (Nigeria) - "Genomic approaches to understanding drug resistant phenotypes in Plasmodium falciparum "      
Expected completion: 2016

Inke Nadia Lubis (Indonesia) - "Clinical efficacy of artemisinin-based combination therapy for uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria in North Sumatera, Indonesia, and the association of molecular markers with treatment outcomes"
Expected completion: 2017
 
Ryan Henrici (USA) - "Manipulation of artemisinin susceptibility in African malaria parasites by genome editing"
Expected comlpetion: 2018

Research

Colin's research falls into 3 main areas: Plasmodium falciparum gametocyte biology, malaria drug resistance and molecular diagnostics for malaria infections. The following projects are currently active in the lab:

1) Drug resistant genotypes associated with reduced susceptibility of African P. falciparum

Earlier work with Teun Bousema evaluated combination antimalarials containing artemisinin compounds, and the genetic determinants of susceptibility to these regimens in malaria parasites. This work was funded by the EU-FP7 MALACTRES consortium from 2008 until June 2013. The lab continues to work with collaborators running a number of trials and studies throughout Africa in which ACTs are being tested.

Through the work with Dr Bousema in western Kenya, we have identified mutations in the  P. falciparum genes, pfubp1 and pfap2mu that are associated with reduced susceptibility to ACT in vivo. We have expanded these studies to include a small focus of ACT treatment failures in Masaiti Disctrict, Zambia. Our data from both sites clearly show that determinants of susceptibility in Africa differ from those recently described in Cambodia.

With funding from the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, we have generated transgenic P. falciparum to examine the role of polymorphisms in the pfap2mu locus in modulating parasite response to antimalarial drugs in vitro.

2) New molecular tools for diagnosis of parasitic infections

Public Health England is supporting the development of new DNA amplification assays both in the Malaria Reference Laboratory at LSHTM, with Dr Debbie Nolder and Paul Lansdell, and  with Dr Spencer Polley and Prof. Peter Chiodini at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases (HTD). New real-time qPCR assays for Plasmodium falciparum, P. vivax and P. ovale spp. have been developed and have entered routine diagnostic use. These quantitative assays are also being used to monitor parasite clearance times in patients under treatment in HTD.

In addition, clinical evaluation of LAMP technology for malaria diagnosis developed with Spencer Polley at the Clinical Parasitology Dept at HTD with funding support from FIND, Geneva were described in the Journal of Infectious Diseases in June 2013. A MESA-funded project with Dr Mary Grace Dacuma supported us to take this technology to South Cotabato Province, Mindanao, The Philippines in 2015 and demonstrated its utility in remote field settings.

3) Population biology of P. ovale curtisi and P. ovale wallikeri 

Dr Mary Oguike is leading work on these two distinct forms of malaria parasite, first described in 2010 as part of Colin's work in the UK Malaria Reference Laboratory. Together with Prof Abdoulaye Djimde, University of Bamako, Mali we have been pursuing new genomic analyses, and studies of the liver-stage biology of these two species with Medical Research Council funding. Withe the assistance of Mojca Kristan and Dr Don van Schalkwyk we have developed a mosquito transmission pipeline, and are currently seeking to infect cultured hepatocyte cells with P. ovale spp. sporozoites.

4) In vitro drug responses of parasites isolated from malaria patients treated at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases (HTD), London.

As Clinical Scientist at HTD, Colin has direct contact with malaria patients who have returned to or visited the UK from malaria-endemic countries. Dr Don van Schalkwyk and Rebekah Burrow successfully adapted more than 10 P. falciparum isolates from across Africa to long-term in vitro growth since 2012, and we are now using these for further dissection of parasite susceptibility to a variety of antimalarial drugs in vitro. Ifeyinwa Aniebo has generated full genome sequence in-house (on the Illumina Mi-Seq platform at LSHTM) for some of these isolates, and is examining polymrphisms in a long list of candidate genes in each isolate.

This project has developed a novel in vitro assay for artemisinin susceptibility in P. falciparum, which we hope to write-up and submit for publication in mid-2016.

5) In vitro drug suscetibility of P. knowlesi 

The Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) have supported a project with Don van Schalkwyk, together with the lab of LSHTM colleague Dr Robert Moon, to establish appropriate in vitro susceptibility assays for the zoonotic parasite P. knowlesi in order to assist in screening of investigational lead compounds for activity against non-falciparum malaria.

6) EDCTP-funded studies of ACT therapy for children with malaria in West Africa

This project, coordinated by Prof Djimde in Bamako, brought a number of European and African project partners together to design. implement and evaluate Phase III trials of ACT therapies in Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea-Conakry. Particularly exciting is the opportunity to be involved in the first large-scale trials of artesunate-pyronaridine for treating malaria in African malaria patients. Khalid Beshir developed a novel qPCR method for evaluating parasite clearance in malaria patients to be deployed across this project.

7) ACCESS-SMC - monitoring and evaluation of parasite drug resistance

As part of this UNITAID implementation project, being carried out on a vast scale across 7 Sahel countries in the seasonal malaria belt in Africa, Khalid Beshir and Julian Muwanguzi are performing high-throughput parasite detection and assessment of resistance markers for the combination of drugs used for seaonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) in young children - sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine plus amodiaquine.

Research areas

  • Chemotherapy
  • Clinical guidelines
  • Clinical trials
  • Diagnostics
  • Drug discovery and development
  • Drug resistance
  • Parasites
  • Protozoa
  • Public health
  • Randomised controlled trials
  • Vaccines

Disciplines

  • Epidemiology
  • Genetics
  • Genomics
  • Immunoepidemiology
  • Molecular biology
  • Molecular epidemiology
  • Parasitology

Disease and Health Conditions

  • Emerging Infectious Disease
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Infectious disease
  • Leishmaniasis
  • Malaria
  • Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs)
  • Schistosomiasis
  • Tropical diseases
  • Zoonotic disease

Regions

  • East Asia & Pacific (all income levels)
  • Euro area
  • European Union
  • Middle East & North Africa (all income levels)
  • South Asia
  • Sub-Saharan Africa (all income levels)

Countries

  • Afghanistan
  • Angola
  • Bangladesh
  • Burkina Faso
  • Cambodia
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Gambia, The
  • Ghana
  • Greece
  • Guinea
  • Haiti
  • India
  • Jamaica
  • Kenya
  • Lao PDR
  • Mali
  • Mozambique
  • Myanmar
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Philippines
  • Senegal
  • Sudan
  • Swaziland
  • Tanzania
  • Thailand
  • Uganda
  • United Kingdom
  • Venezuela, RB
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