Doctoral Dissertation Improvement: The origins and dispersal of ancient leishmaniasis in the New World: A bioarchaeological and molecular approach

Project: Research project

Project Details


Leishmania (spp.), the causative agent in human leishmaniaisis, affects millions of people worldwide, resulting in disfiguring lesions and fatal visceral complications. Today the World Health Organization regards leishmaniasis as a Neglected Tropical Disease, endemic to poverty-stricken countries and rising in incidence by nearly 2 million cases annually, but lacking effective treatment or prevention. The proposed project will use bioarchaeological and molecular data to address the evolutionary history of the parasite Leishmania and the emergence of human leishmaniasis in the New World, both of which are the source of ongoing debate. Specifically, we propose to characterize strains from the earliest known skeletal cases of New World leishmaniasis in the Andes, to explore the relationship of these early strains to modern strains found throughout the globe today, and with additional data from archaeological and ethnohistoric contexts, to address the nature and movement of the disease in prehistoric human populations.
Effective start/end date9/1/128/31/14


  • National Science Foundation (NSF): $30,401.00


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