Academic Venture Fund - 2013

Small Molecules to Vanquish Parasitic Worms

Microscopic image of hookworm

Soil-transmitted worms—including Ascaris, Trichuris, and hookworm—threaten 4.5 billion people worldwide, compromising human health and productivity in the world's poorest regions. Children are at the greatest risk. Parasitic worms also attack young pigs, raising the cost of this popular protein source. Cornell researchers will apply cutting-edge chemical technology to discover novel small molecules, called ascarosides, in Trichuris worms. An ascaroside-based vaccine to protect children and livestock from worm infections is the ultimate goal—boosting economic development, slashing human and animal health care costs, and reducing soil drug contamination.

Investigators: Judith Appleton, Frank Schroeder