• Fly traps are used to catch tsetse flies.

    Fly traps

    for Tsetse flies

African Trypanosomiasis Research

The team of AG Kelm has been involved in research on African trypanosomiasis, also known as sleeping sickness in humans and nagana in cattle, for more than 10 years. It is one of the most important neglected tropical diseases listed by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The research project started with our partner Ahmadu Bello University in Nigeria and successively expanded to partners in Cameroon, Chad and Ghana.

project period

01.01.2018 bis 30.06.2021

Trypanosomes are the causative agents of various diseases in animals. Only a few of these parasites are capable of infecting humans. In Africa, these are the causative agents of sleeping sickness. Closely related trypanosomes that cause animal diseases are widespread in Africa.

In advance of this project, we found DNA traces of animal pathogenic trypanosomes, Trypanosoma congolense, in humans in Cameroon. These could be the first signs that the parasites are adapting to humans and may be on their way to becoming human pathogenic.

The aim of this project is to investigate whether such an adaptation is taking place, how far the parasite has already adapted, or whether people in the affected villages are more susceptible to this parasite. At the same time, two other areas, one in Chad and one in Ghana, will be investigated to see if there are similar traces there.

Weber, J.S., Ngomtcho, S.C.H., Shaida, S.S. et al. Genetic diversity of trypanosome species in tsetse flies (Glossina spp.) in Nigeria. Parasites Vectors 12, 481 (2019).;

S. C. H. Ngomtcho, J. S Weber, E. N. Bum, T. T. Gbem, S. Kelm and M. D. Achukwi (2017) Molecular screening of tsetse flies and cattle reveal different Trypanosoma species including T. grayi and T. theileri in northern Cameroon. Parasites and Vectors, 10, 631 doi:10.1186/s13071-017-2540-7;

M. Waespy, T. T. Gbem, L. Elenschneider, A.-P., C. J. Day, L. Hartley-Tassell, N. Bovin, J. Tiralongo, T. Haselhorst, S. Kelm (2015) Carbohydrate recognition specificity of trans-sialidase lectin domain from Trypanosoma congolense. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 9, doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0004120;


Sustainable Development Goals

The African trypanosomiasis project relates to Sustainable Development Goals 2 (No Hunger) and 3 (Health and Well-Being) and aims to transfer from research to society by directly engaging with the community.

Sustainable Development Goal 2 for Zero Hunger.
SDG indicator 2 for Zero Hunger.
Sustainable Development Goal 3 for Good Health and Well-Being.
SDG indicator 3 for Good Health and Well-Being
portrait photo Professor Kelm

Contact person

Prof. Dr. Sørge Kelm


skelmprotect me ?!uni-bremenprotect me ?!.de
Telefon: +49 (0)421 218-63222

Cooperations and Sponsoring

The Department of Biology and Chemistry, in particular Prof. Sørge Kelm from the University of Bremen, has many years of experience in coordinating cooperative research projects with partners in sub-Saharan Africa, both in research and capacity building. One focus of his projects is the role of nutrition in non-communicable diseases on the continent.


Hassane Mahamat Hassane, Ph.D.

Livestock Research Institute for Developement (IRED)