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Carmony Hartwig, an Old Dominion University graduate student in biological sciences, has been invited to give a talk about her research involving the anti-malarial drug artemisinin at the 56th annual meeting in November of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH).

The talk by Hartwig, "Artemisinin Derivatives Localize Within Digestive Vacuole-Associated Neutral Lipid Bodies in Plasmodium falciparum," won a best presentation award at the annual Molecular Parasitology Meeting (MPM) in September at Woods Hole, Mass.

The Cellular, Molecular and Immunological subgroup of the ASTMH issued the invitation to Hartwig to that organization's annual meeting in Philadelphia, Nov. 4-8, 2007, based on her presentation at the MPM. The ASTMH will pay Hartwig's expenses to attend.

Hartwig's talk focuses on National Institutes of Health-funded work she is doing at ODU on artemisinin, the plant-derived drug that is used worldwide to control malaria. This is the most important antimalarial drug because there are no reports of clinical resistance, yet scientists are not certain how the drug works. Hartwig's work with fluorescent microscopy has shown how artemisinin appears to induce structural damage in lipids that leads to the death of the malaria-causing parasite, Plasmodium falciparum.

Roland Cooper, assistant professor in ODU's Department of Biological Sciences, advises Hartwig in the university's malaria research group. Hartwig's project also is in collaboration with Gary Posner, a chemistry professor at Johns Hopkins University.

Jennifer Spence, an ODU graduate student, won a Young Investigator Award and a prize of $1,000 for her malaria-related research last November at the 2006 ASTMH meeting in Atlanta.

"These prestigious awards, made at international meetings, attest to the quality of our student's work," Cooper said. "As such, they have helped bring much recent attention to our research from the community of malaria scientists."

This article was posted on: October 16, 2007

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