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Sanjeev Krishna

Professor of Molecular Parasitology and Medicine at St George's, University of London

Sanjeev Krishna is Professor of Molecular Parasitology and Medicine at St. George’s, University of London’s Centre for Infection. He read Natural Sciences at Cambridge and completed a medical degree at Oxford in 1982. He began studies on malaria using a rodent model of infection in Oxford as a student and then as part of elective attachments he became involved in clinical studies in the pioneering Wellcome Trust Unit in Thailand. After completing his general medical training, he returned to laboratory studies towards a DPhil at the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine. This research laid the foundations for work that Professor Krishna’s group has developed in subsequent decades, by focusing on the potential value of parasite-encoded transport proteins as drug targets, and their contributions to drug resistance. In 1994 he was awarded a Wellcome Trust Senior Clinical Fellowship and in 2007 an ScD by Cambridge University.
Professor Krishna first proposed the idea that artemisinins act by inhibiting the calcium pump of malaria parasites, a suggestion that has stimulated much research on resistance mechanisms and development of new drug classes. He has identified and developed novel potential drug targets for treating malaria such as the hexose transporter of the parasite. Increased pfmdr1 copy number has been identified as an important mechanism causing treatment failure with some antimalarials.
Professor Krishna’s clinical studies have aimed to optimise the use of existing antimalarials through clinical trials and to develop adjunctive therapies to reduce malaria mortality by studying the pathophysiology of infection. Professor Krishna has collaborated on diagnosis and treatment studies on sleeping sickness, including the recognition of melasoprol resistance in parasites and has worked on improving diagnosis of tuberculosis and Clostridium difficile infections. His contributions have been recognised by election to the Fellowship of the Academy of Medical Sciences.