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African scientists will train at Emory University in latest drug discovery techniques

African scientists will soon begin training at Emory University as part of a unique partnership between Emory and the Republic of South Africa. The South Africa Drug Discovery Training Program will address the rising dangers of diseases that unduly affect developing countries. By training African scientists in drug discovery, the partnership is designed to give South Africans not only a voice but also a choice in how best to combat their disease epidemics.

"As part of this collaboration, the scientists will work with academic researchers in departments and schools throughout the Emory campus, including chemistry, pharmacology and other basic biomedical science departments," says Dennis Liotta, PhD, professor of chemistry. "The scientists will gain hands-on experience in translating research into healthcare solutions and will then return to their home countries to receive post-training placement in industrial or academic positions."

The visiting scholars will initially come from South Africa, but scientists from all over sub-Saharan Africa will soon take part in the training.

"To effectively battle the neglected infectious and immunologic diseases of poverty, the transfer of money and technology is not enough--it is expertise in the discovery and development of new medicines that is the intrinsic requirement," Dr. Liotta says. He and his colleagues have produced several new drugs, including crucial anti-HIV drugs used in the majority of AIDS cocktails today.

"By helping to shift early stage drug discovery to South Africa, this initiative will foster a viable research infrastructure that is capable of responding to global healthcare needs. The fact that several small pharmaceutical companies are beginning to spring up in Africa makes this an ideal time to develop a drug discovery training program," says Dr. Liotta.

Dr. Liotta and his colleagues recently formed iThemba, a start-up biotech company based in South A
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Contact: Holly Korschun
hkorsch@emory.edu
404-727-3990
Emory University
22-Feb-2007


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