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Grantees Profile

Emna Harigua

Country (Nationality)


Grantee Title

Project: BIND: Bioinformatics and artificial intelligence for Infectious Diseases drug discovery research platform

Grantee Description

Research area:

Drug discovery

Host Organisation & country:

Institut Pasteur de Tunis (IPT), Tunisia


Drug discovery in biomedical research in Africa is characterised with high cost, long duration and complexity. Introducing computational approaches, namely bioinformatics and artificial intelligence results in higher performances, lower costs and faster outcomes of the process. Dr Harigua’s research consists in implementing a platform for computer-aided drug discovery that combines bioinformatics, artificial intelligence, biology and biochemistry to identify novel therapeutics against Leishmaniases and Malaria.

Grantee Description

Dr Emna Harigua is a researcher at the Institut Pasteur de Tunis (IPT) in Tunisia. She did her Ph. D at Institut Pasteur in Paris (France) in collaboration with the Laboratory of Molecular Epidemiology and Experimental Pathology (IPT). She defended her Ph. D in 2016 and her doctoral work focused on the identification of novel anti-Leishmania molecules using computer-aided drug discovery approaches, along with the development of novel approaches for protein surface mapping.

Dr Harigua has the long-term aspiration of mastering cutting-edge technologies that combine bioinformatics and artificial intelligence to advance the field of computer-aided drug discovery with a clear focus on infectious diseases of interest to the African communities. She also advocates for women in STEM mentoring and open science.

Project: BIND: Bioinformatics and artificial intelligence for Infectious Diseases drug discovery research platform

Through the BIND project, Dr Harigua will capitalise on her expertise in bioinformatics, artificial intelligence and drug discovery to deliver novel therapeutics against Leishmaniases and Malaria. A multi-disciplinary platform associating cutting-edge computational technologies, namely bioinformatics, molecular modelling and artificial intelligence to experimental validation of the identified drug candidates will be implemented. The proposed approach aims at enhancing the drug discovery process, making it faster, less costly and more efficient. High throughput virtual screenings will be performed to identify novel inhibitors of key proteins of the parasites and molecular docking simulations will be used to decipher protein-ligand interactions and mechanisms associated with multi-drug resistance. This innovative project is an elegant approach to tackle the need for novel therapeutics against diseases heavily affecting the African continent.