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Diagnostic Parasitology

Research Unit

Lifecycle:1 Jan 1990 →  31 Jul 2021
Organisation profile:

The Unit of Parasite Diagnostics studies human and animal African trypanosomiases, visceral leishmaniasis and Chagas’ disease. All these diseases are caused by infections with single-cell (unicellular) Trypanosomatidae parasites.

We focus on parasitological, serological, biochemical and genetic markers for diagnosis-, and determination of the disease stage, including treatment failure and healthy carier status. We are dedicated to the development of simple, quick and reliable tests that can also be used outside the laboratory.

Our methods include the genetic modification of suitable hosts to express candidate antigens for serodiagnosis. Furthermore, we genetically modify trypanosomes with bioluminescent and fluorescent reporter genes for easy in vivo tracking of the parasites in animal models in studies on pathogenicity and treatment efficacy. 

We work together with partner institutions in many developing countries, as well as with private companies and organizations. We are a Collaborating Centre for Research and Training on Human African Trypanosomiasis Diagnostics of the World Health Organization and a Reference Laboratory for Surra of the World Animal Health Organization.

The unit is led by Prof Philippe Büscher.


Research themes
  • Development of new serological tests for diagnosis and surveillance of human and animal African trypanosomiases and visceral leishmaniasis
  • Determination of the disease stage and healthy carrier status in human African trypanosomiasis
  • Simplified molecular diagnosis for African trypanosomiasis, visceral leishmaniasis and Chagas’ disease
  • Improved detection of parasites in human African trypanosomiases
  • Gentechnological production of diagnostic antigens
  • Pathogenesis, neuropathogenesis and tissue tropism in human and animal African trypanosomiases by means of bioluminescent and fluorescent trypanosomes