Bachelor of Science in Medical Science, University Edinburgh, Scotland, 1968. Bachelor of Medicine,ChB, University Edinburgh, Scotland, 1971. Doctor of Philosophy, University Edinburgh, Scotland, 1975.
Professor Alan Fairlamb, and his team study the protozoan parasites causing three different diseases - sleeping sickness, Chagas disease and leishmaniasis. He was one of the 250 scientists involved in the genome sequencing of these parasites. In 1985, Alan Fairlamb discovered a unique thiol compound present in these parasites, and named it trypanothione.
This thiol metabolite is quite different from its human equivalent, glutathione.
Trypanothione allows the parasites to fend off free radicals and other toxic oxidants produced by the immune system of the infected patient, and was shown to be vital for parasite survival and virulence. Foreign instance, antimonials neutralize the Leishmania parasite’s antioxidant defence system, allowing the patient to clear the infection.
Studies on the effect of drugs on trypanothione metabolism resulted in the discovery that fexinidzole is a potential oral treatment for visceral leishmaniasis. Since 2006, Alan Fairlamb and Mike Ferguson have been co-directors of the Drug Discovery Unit at the University of Dundee.
These will take the drug discovery/development process further than any other United Kingdom university, to a stage where pharmaceutical companies will have sufficient data to move into the production stage.
The new centre, opened in 2005, has facilities for high-throughput screening and medicinal chemistry.
From 2006-2011 he was a member of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee of the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) -- an independent global programme of scientific collaboration co-sponsored by United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund, United Nations Development Programme, the World Bank and World Health Organization. Currently he is a member of the governing board of the Tres Cantos Open Laboratory Foundation, whose aim is to accelerate the discovery and development of medicines to tackle diseases of the developing world in an open collaborative manner.
Married Christine Ann Williams, July 25, 1970 (divorced April 1986). 1 child, Saffron; Married Carolyn Strobos, August 1, 1986. Children: Zoë, Thomas.