Pathogenic free-living amoebae (Balamuthia mandrillaris, Acanthamoeba species and Naegleria fowleri) cause several neglected human diseases. Due to the difficulties in awareness and treating these diseases, the unmet clinical need is for highly potent, quickly acting, therapeutics and rapid diagnostics since misdiagnosis is common. An additional need is for potent cysticidal/recrudescence inhibitors for diseases caused by Acanthamoeba and Balamuthia. We developed novel high-throughput screening methods to screen various drug libraries in search for new active chemical scaffolds against pathogenic FLA. Herein, we report our efforts for screening the world’s largest known number of drugs to identify potentially new anti-amoebic therapeutics. Lastly, we will provide an update on new highly sensitive and specific diagnostic tools developed for Balamuthia mandrillaris diseases. This is by far the largest screen of drugs for these neglected amoebae and these data identify new repurposing drug candidates for the treatment of amoebic diseases. By developing rapid diagnostics hand-in-hand we hope this will eventually help bring down the mortality of patients afflicted from amoebic diseases. 


Dr. Rice received his doctorate from the University of the West of Scotland in 2014 under the mentorship of Dr. Fiona Henriquez-Mui. He was hired as a Postdoctoral Fellow by Dr. Dennis E. Kyle at the University of South Florida to lead his amoeba drug discovery projects. In this role, he developed high throughput screening methodology for the discovery of novel therapeutics for several brain eating amoeba. He was recruited to Purdue in the fall of 2022; his research includes the discovery and development of posaconazole as a combination partner against N. fowleri. His lab works on translational therapeutics and diagnostic tools for amoeba.

Today he’s going to talk about awareness, drug discovery and diagnostic tools against pathogenic free-living amoebae. 




Monday, 18 December 2023 


12:00 PM-1:00 PM (UTC+10:00) Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney


Kens Rupert Myers Lv3 3030 SeminarRoom


Meeting ID: 498 428 161 586
Passcode: WXSATe