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Award nomination recognises exceptional international collaboration

3 September 2015

The WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network (WWARN) has been shortlisted for the 2015 Times Higher Education (THE) Award for the ‘International Collaboration of the Year’. 

 

The award recognises “exceptional projects carried out jointly between a UK institution and one or more international partners”. 

WWARN is a collaborative research network that works to provide the information necessary to prevent or slow antimalarial drug resistance, in turn, reducing the number of people falling ill and dying from malaria. Based at the University of Oxford, WWARN works with over 250 collaborators across the world.

The nomination recognises the results of a research project involving 16 partner organisations. The research, published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases in February 2015, showed that resistance to the antimalarial drug artemisinin is established in Myanmar within 25km of the Indian border.

The researchers examined whether parasite samples collected at 55 malaria treatment centres across Myanmar carried mutations in specific propeller regions of the parasite’s kelch gene (K13), a known genetic marker of artemisinin drug resistance. Their aim was to determine the location of these parasites which carry these mutations to support eradication or containment of the resistant parasites in the Greater Mekong Region.

To support researchers, policy makers and health officials, the WWARN team developed the K13 Molecular Surveyor, an interactive map that summarises the prevalence of these molecular markers in parasites from a wide range of sites in the Mekong region.

Prof Carol Sibley, Scientific Director of WWARN said: “The discovery of molecular markers of resistance in the kelch 13 gene gives researchers the unusual opportunity to monitor the emergence or spread of resistance, almost in real time. Assessing the prevalence of these molecular markers in other regions can provide an early warning system to trigger rapid responses, support the development of control strategies, and save lives.”

John Gill, THE editor, said: “The achievements of our universities, which transform students’ lives and carry out pioneering research day in, day out, deserve to be recognised, and over the last decade the Times Higher Education Awards have become one of the sector’s most hotly anticipated events. This year, the 11th year of the awards, we had more entries than ever before, and are delighted to have such strong shortlists, highlighting the strength of universities the length and breadth of the country.” 

Hundreds of nominations for outstanding institutions, departments and individuals were submitted across 18 categories covering the full range of university activity. The full shortlist for all 18 categories is published in today’s issue of Times Higher Education and is also available on the awards website: www.the-awards.co.uk.

The winners will be announced on Thursday 26 November 2015 at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London, at an awards ceremony that will be attended by politicians, senior sector figures, and academic and professional university staff.