Research by PASET Scholar Jean-Yves Ekra Reveals Genetic Diversity of Trypanosomiasis Parasites in the Côte d'Ivoire


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Jean-Yves Ekra

Jean-Yves Ekra

A molecular biology approach has revealed genetic variations in parasites that cause Trypanosomiasis in cattle in the Savannah district of the Côte d'Ivoire, according to new research from PASET Scholar Jean-Yves Ekra.

The research was reported in the journal Pathogens and conducted in the lab of Jagan Srinivasan, associate professor in the Department of Biology and Biotechnology and director of the WPI’s master’s degree program in neuroscience.

Trypanosomiasis is a zoonotic disease that affects both humans and animals. It is caused by trypanosomes, parasites transmitted by the tse-tse fly. To date, it represents one of the major constraints to livestock intensification in sub-Saharan Africa, and specifically in Côte d'Ivoire. 

Numerous efforts have been made to combat this disease, with the result that it is no longer a public health problem in the Côte d'Ivoire, Ekra said.

“To maintain the gain made in the fight against human trypanosomiasis and considerably reduce the losses suffered by livestock farmers as a result of this disease, it is necessary to control the disease in animals,” Ekra said. “It is, therefore, important to know the diversity of parasites that can be observed in animals. For that, we used a molecular biology approach based on conserved regions of the parasite genome.”

PASET, which stands for Partnership for skills in Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology, supports African PhD students who are pursuing their scholarship outside their countries at partner institutions. WPI began hosting PASET scholars in 2020.

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