Dr. Niroshini Nirmalan
School of Science, Engineering and Environment
Academic Lead Biomedicine; Chair in Biomolecular Sciences
I graduated from the Faculty of Medicine, Colombo, Sri Lanka in 1991 where I was appointed Lecturer in Parasitology. Following my MSc and PhD at the University of Salford, Manchester, I did my postdoctoral training in Prof. John Hyde’s laboratory at the University of Manchester, Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST). I went on to work as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Manchester Interdisciplinary Biocenter (MIB, University of Manchester) and my research led to the first annotated 2D proteomic maps for the malarial parasite Plasmodium falciparum and the development of a novel heavy isoleucine-based quantitative proteomic methodology to investigate the malarial proteome. I was appointed Senior Scientist at the Cancer Research UK Clinical Center at St James’s Hospital, University of Leeds in 2007, where I worked on developing a novel label-free quantitative proteomics methodology to investigate formalin-fixed tissue archives. I took up my current role as Senior Lecturer at the University of Salford in April 2010
Areas of research
Malaria, Drug Repositioning, Drug Discovery, Major Trauma, Biomarkers
I teach on a number of modules across the Biomedical Science and Human Biology and Infectious Diseases Programmes (Human Anatomy, Cell Biology, Pathophysiology, Cell pathology, Final year research projects) and on the postgraduate MSc Programmes offered in Molecular and Vector Parasitology and Biotechnology.
Malaria continues to inflict a heavy mortality and morbidity burden globally. Drug development has struggled compete with resistance acquisition. My research interests focus on drug discovery/screening and the development of “Omics” methodology to define mechanisms of antimalarial drug action. Drug repositioning, whereby existing FDA approved drugs already used in other diseases are screened for antimalarial activity, offers a fast tracked route to discover new antimalarial options and synergistic combinatorial partners. We have screened a range of drug libraries and identified a series of compounds with antimalarial properties. Fluorescence-based in vitro drug susceptibility assays optimized in the laboratory are used in the preliminary screens. Molecular modelling and synthetic chemistry approaches are used to further refine anti-malarial efficacy and minimize non-target effects.
A second research strategy focuses on the investigation of natural product options for antimalarial efficacy. A collaborative project with the National Institute for Pharmaceutical research and development (NIPRD, Nigeria) is currently exploring a series of ‘traditional fever cures’ for in vitro antimalarial activity. Potential leads are taken forward for bioassay-guided fractionation and active compound isolation.
Current Group Members:
Maryam Idris-Usman (PhD student), Muna Abubaker (Pathways to Excellence PhD studentship), May Rajab (Pathways to Excellence PhD studentship), Oluwafemi Akinsola (PhD Student), Priyanka Panwar (PhD student).
Dr. Holly Matthews (Post-doctoral Scientist, Imperial College, London). Dr. Mothana Owaid Hussein (Lecturer, University of Tikrit, Baghdad).
GSK Tres Cantos, Madrid, NIPRD (Nigeria).
Trauma Biomarker Project (NIHR Portfolio Study: BIT19377)
Major trauma remains a leading cause of mortality, accounting for 10% of deaths and 16% of disabilities globally. The Trauma Biomarker Project was initiated and led by the University of Salford in collaboration with Manchester Royal Infirmary (MRI), Salford Royal Foundation Trust (SRFT) and Waters Corporation, Manchester. The goal of the study is to define, in a large cohort of major trauma patients (n=200), the complex interplay between the immune and metabolic systems in order to enable the identification of a panel of early markers predicting adverse clinical outcome. The definition of such markers will enable patient stratification and prioritisation for targeted treatments, improving outcome and reducing costs incurred in an ICU setting. Furthermore, a selected panel of “Omics” markers will be validated and taken forward for development as a diagnostic test in collaboration with Waters Corporation, Manchester, UK
The study was awarded UKCRN-NIHR Portfolio status (BIT 19377), which enabled research nurse funding for clinical activities in MRI and SRFT. We have currently recruited 50 patients and bio-banked samples from 150 patient samplings (Day 1, 3, 5 trends). The LREC approvals cover the study until October 2019 when it’s estimated that the recruitment target of 200 patients will be met.
Current Group Members:
Basmah Allarakia (Saudi Arabian govt. PhD Scholarship), Matthew Jones (MRes Studentship).
Dr James Hanison (Consultant, Intensive Care, MRI), Prof Kevin Mackway-Jones (Consultant, Emergency Medicine, MRI), Dr. Richard Body (Consultant, A&E, MRI), Prof Mahesh Nirmalan (Consultant, Intensive Care, MRI), Dr. Daniel Horner (Consultant, Intensive Care, SRFT).
Waters Corporation Ltd. Macclesfield, Manchester.
- 1999: PhD, University of Salford, UK
- 1996: MSc in Molecular Parasitology, University of Salford, UK
- 1991: MBBS, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka