Professor Michael Pollastri is an Associate Professor of Chemistry & Chemical Biology at Northwestern University. His research is focused in the area of drug discovery for neglected tropical diseases. Think sleeping sickness, Chagas disease, leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, and schistosomiasis.
There is a real lack of coordination between the many groups involved in drug discovery and its likely that multiple groups are chasing the same leads, or have already found them useless. This is a serious waste of time of resources. To tackle this, Michael is looking to establish an Open Source NTD drug discovery effort. Its a great idea.
While reading around this, I also came across the Open Drug Discovery Team smart phone app developed by Dr Sean Ekins and Dr Alex Clark. They recently tried crowdfunding to support their app but without much success.
Still, its great to see passionate people really trying to build these sorts of collaborations and tools. Hopefully their hard work will pay off and we’ll see some new drugs for these horrible diseases.
Oh, and if you thought these diseases were just found in ‘poor’ countries, think again.