Dr Manu De Rycker

Principal Investigator/Senior Lecturer

Drug Discovery Unit, School of Life Sciences

Portrait photo of Manu de Rycker
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+44 (0)1382 386211


Manu De Rycker is Head of Translational Parasitology and Portfolio Leader for Kinetoplastid Drug Discovery at the Drug Discovery Unit (DDU). Manu holds a Master of Science degree in engineering (biotechnology) from the University of Ghent, Belgium and a PhD in molecular genetics from the University of Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. Following postdoctoral work with Professor Peter Parker at the Cancer Research UK Lincoln’s Inn Field laboratories (London), he moved to the University of Dundee in 2009.

Manu heads the team that develop and run cell-based assays for the parasitology programmes in the DDU. The team has successfully built extensive screening cascades for Leishmania donovani and Trypanosoma cruzi that comprise high-throughput primary screening assays as well as advanced secondary assays with high physiological relevance, including assays for persister parasites. These cascades have proven pivotal to rapidly identify new compounds with the best chance of demonstrating in vivo efficacy.

As Portfolio Leader for Kinetoplastid Drug Discovery Manu leads a substantial drug discovery programme focused on delivering new pre-clinical candidates for visceral leishmaniasis and Chagas disease. In collaboration with GSK this programme has developed two new pre-clinical candidates for visceral leishmaniasis. Manu works closely with biologists, chemists and pharmacologists to deliver further candidates for these neglected tropical diseases.


Key interests:

  • Developing fit-for-purpose drug discovery cascades for neglected tropical diseases. More information on our Chagas disease screening cascade work can be found here: https://wcair.dundee.ac.uk/research/making-a-medicine-start-here/chagas-disease-screen/
  • Understanding the nature of T. cruzi persister parasites and exploiting this knowledge for drug discovery purposes
  • Development of new pre-clinical candidates for neglected tropical diseases, in particular visceral leishmaniasis and Chagas disease
  • High-throughput and high-content cell-based screening for parasitic diseases
  • Development of new assays and methodology for drug discovery
  • Application of new drug modalities such as PROTACs for neglected tropical diseases
  • Discovery and development of new anti-fungals

Group members

  • Luciana De Sousa Paradela
  • Marta Garcia Sanchez
  • Lorna MacLean
  • Christy Paterson
  • John Thomas
  • Juliana Pacheco da Silva
  • Leanne Reid
  • Chris Elcombe
View full research profile and publications


I teach drug discovery for parasitic diseases in the 4th year Parasitology Module (BS42012)


Award Year
Major Personal Funding Awards / MRC New Investigator Grant 2020