Leishmaniasis Research Group:
Leader of the Group:
Professor Elwaleed M. Elamin (wmelamin@hotmail.com , wmelamin@aau.edu.sd)
Professor Maowia M. Mukhtar (mmukhtar@tropmedicine.org)
Dr. Sara Ibrahim (sursur555@gmail.com)
Dr. Sababil S. Ali (sababil1990@gmail.com)
Prof. Musa M Kheir
Dr. Mohamed Abdallah
Dr. Mohamed A Elrahim

Leishmaniasis is a highly neglected disease of poor and marginalized communities. Effective basic, clinical and implementation research is a key to elevate the burden of Leishmaniasis.
To conduct high quality research to improve the diagnosis, control and elimination of leishmaniasis.
Current projects:
Understanding the epidemiology of Leishmaniasis in Sudan:
Sudan is one of the five countries where 90% of leishmaniasis cases occur. It is the highest leishmaniasis endemic country in Africa. Four clinical forms of leishmaniasis are prevalent in Sudan: Visceral leishmaniasis (VL), Cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL), Mucosal Leishmaniasis (ML) and Post kala-Azar Dermal Leishmaniasis (PKDL).
Visceral Leishmaniasis is endemic in Eastern, Central and Western Sudan, while Cutaneous leishmaniasis is endemic in most of the regions with very rare cases reported in VL endemic areas. ML and PKDL are reported in areas where VL is endemic.
Two transmission cycles of VL are considered: Zoonotic and Anthroponotic cycles. VL, ML and PKDL are caused by Leishmania donovani while CL is mostly caused by L. major, however our group had reported cases of CL caused by L. donovani.

Clinical form of Sudanese Leishmaniasis:

Identification of new diagnostic biomarkers:
The current diagnosis of Leishmaniasis is based on demonstration of Leishmania amastigotes in tissue aspirates using invasive sampling methods. While serological diagnosis has advanced by developing simple bed side rapid tests (rk39 and rK28 tests), this tests lack the ability to differentiate between current and past infection as well as asymptomatic infections. Molecular methods require laboratory setting not affordable in poor communities where the disease is endemic.
Our group has contributed to the development of simple diagnostic tests and was a member of the international network to evaluate new diagnostic tests for VL and CL. Our group has also identified two Leishmania antigens secreted in the urine of VL patients and is currently pursing the development of new urine based antigen detection test for VL

Accurate identification and taxonomy of leishmania parasites:
Sudanese leishmania parasite are very complex population. The fact that Sudanese L. donovani can cause different clinical forms including VL, PKDL, ML and CL is of great interest. Our group has extensively studied the virulence markers and sequenced whole genomes of isolates from the different clinical forms in collaboration with Professor Jeremy  Mottram at York University UK. The data analysis couldn’t identify specific genomic marker that can differentiate between the isolates from the different clinical forms.

Analysis of the immune response of leishmania patients:
The host immune responses to leishmania infection is an important factor that determines the outcome of the infection.
Our group has analyzed both the antibody and the cytokine responses of VL, PKDL and ML patients and identified immune markers associated with the pathogenesis of leishmania infection.

Professor Ikram Guizani – institute Pasteur, Tunisia
Professor Jeremy Mottram- York University, UK
Professor Gerald Spaeth -Institute Pasteur, Paris, France
Professor Steve Reed- IDRI, USA

Selected Publications:
Antimony- resistant Leishmania donovani in eastern Sudan: incidence and invitro correlation.Abdo MG; Elamin WM; Khalil EAG.; and Mukhtar, MM. 2003. East Med. Health. J. 9(4): 12-18.
Identification of Leishmania donovani as a cause of cutaneous Leishmaniasis in Sudan. E.M.Elamin, I.Guizani; S.Guerbouj; M. Gramicia A. M. El Hassan; T. Di Muccio; M.A.Taha ; and M. M. Mukhtar. Trans.Roy. Soc. Trop.Med. Hyg. 2008: 102:54-57.
Diagnostic tests for kala-azar at primary care level: a multi-centre study of the freeze-dried DAT, rK39 strip test and KAtex in East-Africa and the Indian subcontinentMarleen Boelaert; Abraham Aseffa; Sayda El-Safi; Asrat Hailu; Jane Mbui; Maowia Mukhtar; Suman Rijal; Shyam Sundar; Monique Wasunna; Joris Menten; Philippe Desjeux; Rosanna W. Peeling. Trans.Roy.Soc.Trop.Med. Hyg.2008: 102: 61 – 65.
Isolation and identification of Leishmania donovani from Phlebotomus orientalis, in an area of eastern Sudan with endemic visceral leishmaniasis. Hassan MM; Elamin EM and Mukhtar MM. Ann Trop Med Parasitol. 2008 Sep;102(6):553-5
Mucosal leishmanias in a Sudanese patient.
Abbas K, Musatafa MA, Abass S, Kheir MM, Mukhtar M, Elamin EM, Elhassan AM. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2009 Jun;80(6):935-8.
Design, development and evaluation of rK28-based point-of-care tests for improving rapid diagnosis of visceral leishmaniasis. Pattabhi S, Whittle J, Mohamath R, El-Safi S, Moulton GG, Guderian JA, Colombara D, Abdoon AO, Mukhtar MM, Mondal D, Esfandiari J, Kumar S, Chun P, Reed SG, Bhatia A. 2010. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2010 Sep 14;4(9).
Encyclopedia of Environmental Health: Leishmaniases. I Guizani, M Mukhtar; J Alvar; S Ben Abderrazak and J Shaw. Elsevier 2011.
First report on Ambisome associated allergic reaction in two Sudanese Leishmaniasis patients. Mukhtar, Maowia; Aboud, Mona; Kheir, Musa; Bakhiet, Sahar; Abdullah, Nazik; Ali, Ahmed; Elamin, Elwaleed; Elagib, Atif. American Journal Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 2011 Oct.85(4):644-645.
A Global Comparative Evaluation of Commercial Immunochromatographic Rapid Diagnostic Tests for Visceral Leishmaniasis. Cunningham J, Hasker E, Das P, El Safi S, Goto H, Mondal D, Mbuchi M, Mukhtar M, Rabello A, Rijal S, Sundar S, Wasunna M, Adams E, Menten J, Peeling R, Boelaert M; for the WHO/TDR Visceral Leishmaniasis Laboratory Network. Clin Infect Dis. 2012 Nov;55(10):1312-1319. Epub 2012 Aug 31.
Screening and Characterization of RAPD Markers in Viscerotropic Leishmania Parasites. Mkada-Driss I, Lahmadi R, Chakroun AS, Talbi C, Guerbouj S, Driss M, Elamine EM, Cupolillo E, Mukhtar MM, Guizani I. PLoS One. 2014 Oct 14;9(10):e109773.
Comparison of Point-of-Care Tests for the Rapid Diagnosis of Visceral Leishmaniasis in East African Patients. Bezuneh A, Mukhtar M, Abdoun A, Teferi T, Takele Y, Diro E, Jemaneh A, Shiferaw W, Wondimu H, Bhatia A, Howard RF, Ghalib H, Ireton GC, Hailu A, Reed SG. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2014 Oct 13. pii: 13-0759. [Epub ahead of print]
Diagnostic accuracy of rK28-based immunochromatographic rapid diagnostic tests for visceral leishmaniasis: a prospective clinical cohort study in Sudan. Mukhtar M, Abdoun A, Ahmed AE, Ghalib H, Reed SG, Boelaert M, Menten J, Khair MM, Howard RF. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 2015 Sep;109(9):594-600. doi: 10.1093/trstmh/trv060. Epub 2015 Aug 5.
Development and comparative evaluation of two antigen detection tests for Visceral Leishmaniasis. Vallur AC, Tutterrow YL, Mohamath R, Pattabhi S, Hailu A, Abdoun AO, Ahmed AE, Mukhtar M, Salam MA, Almeida ML, Almeida RP, Mondal D, Albertini A, GhalibH, Duthie MS, Reed SG.  BMC Infect Dis. 2015 Sep 22;15:384. doi: 10.1186/s12879-015-1125-3.
Elevated TGFβ in drug resistant visceral leishmaniasis. MIsk Elyemen A. Elmekki; Mogahid M. Elhassan; Mohamed E. Hamid and Maowia M. Mukhtar. Annal of Saudi Medicine. 2016. 36(1):73-77.
Sensitive and less invasive confirmatory diagnosis of visceral leishmaniasis in Sudan using loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP).
Mukhtar M, Ali SS, Boshara SA, Albertini A, Monnerat S, Bessell P, Mori Y, Kubota Y, Ndung'u JM, Cruz I. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2018 Feb 14;12(2):e0006264. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0006264. eCollection 2018
Comparison of Point-of-Care Tests for the Rapid Diagnosis of Visceral Leishmaniasis in East African Patients. Asrat Bezunch, Maowua Mukhtar, Asim Abdoun; Steve Reed.. American Journal of Tropical Medicine. Ocotber 2014; 13-19
Leishmania Genome Dynamics during Environmental Adaptation Reveal Strain-Specific Differences in Gene Copy Number Variation, Karyotype Instability, and Telomeric Amplification. Bussotti G, Gouzelou E, Côrtes Boité M, Kherachi I, Harrat Z, Eddaikra N, Mottram JC, Antoniou M, Christodoulou V, Bali A, Guerfali FZ, Laouini D, Mukhtar M, Dumetz F, Dujardin JC, Smirlis D, Lechat P, Pescher P, El Hamouchi A, Lemrani M, Chicharro C, Llanes-Acevedo IP, Botana L, Cruz I, Moreno J, Jeddi F, Aoun K, Bouratbine A, Cupolillo E, Späth GF.MBio. 2018 Nov 6;9(6). pii: e01399-18. doi: 10.1128/mBio.01399-18
Synthesis, Characterization, and Antileishmanial Activity of Certain Quinoline-4-carboxylic Acids. Mazin Abdelwahid; Tilal Elsaman; Malik Suliman Mohamed; Sara A. Latif; Maowia M. Mukhtar, Magdi Awadalla Mohamed;  February 2019; Journal of Chemistry 2019(ID 2859637):1-9. DOI: 10.1155/2019/2859637
Neutrophil elastase promotes Leishmania donovani infection via interferon-β.Dias BT, Dias-Teixeira KL, Godinho JP, Faria MS, Calegari-Silva T, Mukhtar MM, Lopes U, Mottram JC, Lima APCA. FASEB J. 2019 Jul 5:fj201900524R. doi: 10.1096/fj.201900524R.PMID:31284755