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Salford Lecture Series: The Enigma of the ‘Jesuit Powder’

Date - Fri 18 May 2018

Time - 6.00 pm

Duration - 1 hour

Cost - FREE

Disabled access? - Yes

Venue - Chapman Building, Lecture Theatre 1


Inaugural Salford Professorial Lectures: Professor Niroshini Nirmalan

Event details

Inaugural Salford Professorial Lectures: Professor Niroshini Nirmalan

The Enigma of the 'Jesuit Powder'

Quinine remains the most celebrated remedy for malaria. This ancient Inca extract from the bark of the Cinchona tree was originally used for cold-induced shivering, prior to being ingeniously ‘repositioned’ by the Jesuits for the treatment of malaria in the 16th century. The discovery of quinine had profound implications in shaping world history as we know it…..influencing wars, science, religion, trade, construction and not least the Western colonisation efforts in Africa and Asia. Quinine, the oldest prescribed drug, is still used for the treatment of cerebral malaria in some endemic regions. Although malaria eradication goals were never achieved as predicted, the bark extract and a large array of synthetic quinine analogues have kept the disease under control for many a century.

Malaria still results in 250 million infections and 600,000 deaths annually.

Natural product scaffolds and their chemical progeny have continued to sustain control efforts for this deadly disease. The rapid acquisition of drug resistance, a fast depleting armamentarium of useful antimalarial drugs and increasingly tedious and costly discovery pipelines have made a catastrophic gap in the antimalarial drug market a very realistic possibility in the near future.

What lessons, if any, does the story of the Jesuit Powder hold for us as Drug Discovery Scientists?

Registration from 5.30pm, Lecture will start promptly at 6pm.

Please join us for light refreshements following the lecture in Salford Museum & Art Gallery.

About Professor Nirmalan

Niroshini Nirmalan is Professor of Biomolecular Sciences and Academic Lead for Biomedicine in the School of Environment and Life Sciences. After graduating from the Faculty of Medicine, Colombo, Sri Lanka, she went on to do an MSc/PhD at the University of Salford and postdoctoral training in Prof. John Hyde’s laboratory at UMIST. She worked as a Post-doctoral Fellow at the Manchester Interdisciplinary Biocenter (MIB, University of Manchester) and Senior Scientist at the Cancer Research UK Clinical Center at St James’s Hospital, University of Leeds prior to taking up a Senior Lectureship at the University of Salford in 2009.

If you have any questions or access requirements please get in touch with the Events Team on or 0161 295 5275.

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