Prof John Kelly

Professor of Molecular Biology

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
Keppel street
United Kingdom

+44 207 927 2330

Research area: The molecular biology of parasitic protozoa

My lab focuses on three main areas:

Development of new genetic tools for functional studies on Trypanosoma cruzi

Mechanisms of drug action and resistance in Chagas disease

Understanding Chagas disease pathogenesis

Funding: Medical Research Council, Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi), GSK, Novartis


Department of Infection Biology
Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases


Malaria Centre
Antimicrobial Resistance Centre


I teach on modules offered by LSHTM as part of their taught course MSc portfolio. These lectures cover molecular parasitology and drug development. I also deliver lectures on trypanosome biology at the University of Cambridge.


The parasitic protozoa Trypanosoma cruzi and Trypanosoma brucei are responsible for two major tropical infections, Chagas disease and African trypanosomiasis, respectively. These diseases represent a major public health problem in regions of the world least able to deal with the associated economic burden. Advances by ourselves and others have led to the development of a wide range of genetic tools that can be used to address fundamental biological questions associated with these important pathogens. In addition, the output of the trypanosomatid genome projects, together with major advances in imaging technology is providing a research framework where rapid progress can be expected. We are exploiting these new approaches and opportunities to gain greater understanding of the mechanisms of drug action and resistance, and disease pathogenesis. In collaboration with biologists, biochemists and medicinal chemists, we are contributing to the Chagas disease drug discovery pipeline, as well as providing the community with new functional genomic tools. These multidisciplinary approaches, which bring together of both academic and industrial partners, is now widely seen as the way ahead to provide better treatment for these previously ‘Neglected Diseases’.

Research Area
Cell biology
Molecular biology
Drug discovery and development
Drug resistance
Research methodology
Disease and Health Conditions
Chagas disease
African trypanosomiasis
United States of America
Latin America & Caribbean (all income levels)
Sub-Saharan Africa (developing only)

Selected Publications

Cardiac Abnormalities in a Predictive Mouse Model of Chagas Disease.
FRANCISCO, AF; Sousa, GR; Vaughan, M; Langston, H; Khan, A; Jayawardhana, S; TAYLOR, MC; Lewis, MD; KELLY, JM;
Benznidazole treatment leads to DNA damage in Trypanosoma cruzi and the persistence of rare widely dispersed non-replicative amastigotes in mice.
Jayawardhana, S; Ward, AI; FRANCISCO, AF; Lewis, MD; TAYLOR, MC; KELLY, JM; Olmo, F;
PLoS Pathogens
Preclinical data do not support the use of amiodarone or dronedarone as antiparasitic drugs for Chagas disease at the approved human dosing regimen
FRANCISCO, AF; Chen, G; Wang, W; Sykes, ML; Escudié, F; Scandale, I; Olmo, F; Shackleford, DM; Zulfiqar, B; Kratz, JM; Pham, T; Saunders, J; Hu, M; Avery, VM; Charman, SA; KELLY, JM; Chatelain, E;
Frontiers in tropical diseases
Bis-6-amidino-benzothiazole Derivative that Cures Experimental Stage 1 African Trypanosomiasis with a Single Dose.
Racané, L; Ptiček, L; Kostrun, S; Raić-Malić, S; TAYLOR, MC; DELVES, M; ALSFORD, S; Olmo, F; FRANCISCO, AF; KELLY, JM;
Journal of medicinal chemistry
Novel Lipophilic Hydroxamates Based on Spirocarbocyclic Hydantoin Scaffolds with Potent Antiviral and Trypanocidal Activity
Pardali, V; Giannakopoulou, E; Mpekoulis, G; Tsopela, V; Panos, G; TAYLOR, MC; KELLY, JM; Vassilaki, N; Zoidis, G;
Cyanotriazoles are selective topoisomerase II poisons that rapidly cure trypanosome infections
Rao, SP S; Gould, MK; Noeske, J; Saldivia, M; Jumani, RS; Ng, PS; René, O; Chen, Y-L; Kaiser, M; Ritchie, R; FRANCISCO, AF; Johnson, N; Patra, D; Cheung, H; Deniston, C; Schenk, AD; Cortopassi, WA; Schmidt, RS; Wiedemar, N; Thomas, B; Palkar, R; Ghafar, NA; Manoharan, V; Luu, C; Gable, JE; ... Diagana, TT.
Synthesis and Biological Activity of 2-Benzo[b]thienyl and 2-Bithienyl Amidino-Substituted Benzothiazole and Benzimidazole Derivatives.
Racané, L; Zlatić, K; Cindrić, M; Mehić, E; Karminski-Zamola, G; TAYLOR, MC; KELLY, JM; Malić, SR; Stojković, MR; Kralj, M; Hranjec, M;
Collaborative Virtual Screening Identifies a 2-Aryl-4-aminoquinazoline Series with Efficacy in an In Vivo Model of Trypanosoma cruzi Infection.
Tawaraishi, T; Ochida, A; Akao, Y; Itono, S; Kamaura, M; Akther, T; Shimada, M; Canan, S; Chowdhury, S; Cao, Y; Condroski, K; Engkvist, O; FRANCISCO, A; Ghosh, S; Kaki, R; KELLY, JM; Kimura, C; Kogej, T; Nagaoka, K; Naito, A; Pairaudeau, G; Radu, C; Roberts, I; Shum, D; Watanabe, N-A; ... Perry, B.
Journal of medicinal chemistry
Enteric nervous system regeneration and functional cure of experimental digestive Chagas disease with trypanocidal chemotherapy
KHAN, A; Langston, H; Walsh, L; Roscoe, R; Jayawardhana, S; FRANCISCO, A; TAYLOR, M; McCann, C; KELLY, J; LEWIS, M;
Comparing in vivo bioluminescence imaging and the Multi-Cruzi immunoassay platform to develop improved Chagas disease diagnostic procedures and biomarkers for monitoring parasitological cure
FRANCISCO, AF; Saade, U; Jayawardhana, S; Pottel, H; Scandale, I; Chatelain, E; Liehl, P; KELLY, JM; Zrein, M;
PLoS neglected tropical diseases
See more information