Prof Mike Barrett

Monday, May 27 2013 at 7:30PM

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72a Waterloo Street

Prof Mike Barrett

What's the talk about?

As late as the 1880s people still believed that malaria was caused by the breathing of putrid air from swamps.  The discovery of French scientist Louis Pasteur that microscopic germs were responsible for some human illnesses lead to a vigorous quest for microbes behind a range of diseases.  At this time, the British Empire had spread to many parts of the world and many of the medical clinics there were manned by Scots doctors who had been trained in the philosophy of the Scottish Enlightenment.  Equipped with rudimentary microscopes these pioneers went on to show the causative agents for many diseases of the tropics including leishmaniasis and trypanosomiasis as well as revealing how insects could be responsible for transmitting diseases like malaria and elephantiasis.  Today, many of these diseases are still with us, but scientists in Scotland remain at the forefront of efforts to eliminate them.


Mike Barrett is Professor of Biochemical Parasitology at the University of Glasgow and also directs a new initiative at the University, Glasgow Polyomics. He Chairs the Kinetoplastids Drug Efficacy working group at the World Health Organisation and is part of the Human African trypanosomiasis expert group at WHO. His research focuses on work into understanding how parasites become resistant to current drugs and how we can design new drugs tailored to specifically interfere with the inner workings of parasites.   He has also had a long interest in the history of research into Tropical Diseases, particularly the role played by Scottish Investigators in their discovery.