New NIH Grant to Dr. Ingram-Smith

April 7, 2016

Cheryl Ingram-Smith, Ph.D., a member of the Eukaryotic Pathogens Innovation Center (EPIC), was recently awarded a 3-year, $423,966 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). She is studying metabolism in Entamoeba histolytica, which causes as many as 50 million cases of dysentery annually, with 50,000 to 100,000 deaths each year. E. histolytica is a water- and food-borne intestinal parasite that is a major public health problem in developing and underdeveloped countries with poor sanitation. This parasite is unusual in that it lacks many of the typical metabolic pathways and relies on scavenging to get many of the nutrients it needs. Entamoeba has several unusual adaptations to its primary metabolic pathway of glycolysis, which is used for the breakdown of glucose. We are investigating the role of two enzymes that may increase the function of the glycolytic pathway to better provide the cell with the energy it needs to live. A better understanding of Entamoeba metabolism during infection may reveal suitable targets for development of additional drugs against this parasite.