Ghanaian-American professor of molecular and cellular biology in Kennesaw State University’s College of Science and Mathematics, Kojo Mensa-Wilmot, has received a five-year $3.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
This is enable him to continue his work on human African trypanosomiasis, a disease found in sub-Saharan Africa.
Mr Mensa-Wilmot’s research is geared toward understanding the basic biology and developing a drug to cure the disease.
He is a globally recognized expert on Trypanosoma brucei, the single-celled organism that causes the disease.
Nearly 60 million people are at risk for human African trypanosomiasis. According to the World Health Organization, tsetse flies spread the disease-causing parasite among human and animal populations in rural Africa through bites.
“Our research is bringing the day closer when the suffering and death of patients with human African trypanosomiasis — which is often referred to as sleeping sickness — is greatly reduced,” said Mensa-Wilmot.
“This NIH grant is important for the next phase of research. I am grateful to have this support for five years as we progress toward more effective treatments and a better understanding of the chemical biology of trypanosomes.”
Mensa-Wilmot’s cellular biology research will serve as a foundation for treating other diseases caused by other parasites related to trypanosomes.
Mensa-Wilmot became dean of the College of Science and Mathematics at Kennesaw State in August 2020. The NIH funding supports research in collaboration with Professor Michael Pollastri through 2026.
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