Call for papers for PLOS WorldLeish-6 Collection


As published in the PLOS Collections Blog

Update: Call for Papers for WorldLeish-6 extended to PLOS Pathogens

Dr Jorge Alvar, Head of Leishmaniasis, DNDi, and Dr Javier Moreno, Director of WHO Collaborating Center for Leishmaniasis, announce a call for papers on Leishmaniasis for the PLOS WorldLeish-6 Collection.


There are currently 350 million people in 98 countries at risk of developing leishmaniasis, the vector-borne parasitic disease caused by various species of trypanosomatid protozoa in the genus of Leishmania.  One of the two most common forms of disease, visceral leishmaniasis or kala-azar, is fatal without treatment, and there are 200,000-400,000 new cases per year, despite a recent large reduction in cases seen on the Indian subcontinent. The WHO roadmap for elimination of NTDs, published in 2012 and supported by the London Declaration later that same year, targets elimination of kala-azar as a public health problem by the end of 2020 on the Indian subcontinent.

Cutaneous leishmaniasis is not life-threatening but is the cause of serious socio-economic problems in populations with already limited resources, and there are an estimated 700,000-1,200,000 new cases each year. Together with mucocutaneous leishmaniasis, diffuse cutaneous leishmaniasis, and post-kala-azar leishmaniasis, they make a fascinating group of diseases which attract the interest of scientists worldwide, with research ongoing in all aspects of disease – from the epidemiological to the molecular level – and more than 1,200 scientific articles published annually in peer review journals.


Over the last two decades, the consultative Steering Committee of WorldLeish (WL) has issued calls to organize the WL congress every four years. A joint submission by the Instituto de Salud Carlos III (ISCIII), Madrid, a WHO collaborating Center for leishmaniasis for 19 years, and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) was recently accepted by the WL committee, and the 6th World Congress on Leishmaniasis (WL6) will take place in Toledo, Spain from 16 to 20 May 2017, with some 1500 attendees expected to attend.

Call for Research Papers

To accompany this major event, the WL6 Scientific Community, in partnership with PLOS Collections, call for research papers to be submitted for consideration for a WorldLeish-6 Collection.

The WL6 Scientific Committee has identified a series of major topics that will provide the background to the main scientific sessions during the congress, and the organizers would like to celebrate a Jubilee of Leishmaniasis by inviting the scientific community to submit papers addressing “hot” topics within the major areas selected:

Major topics for WL6:

1. Molecular and Cell biology
2. Host-parasite cellular and molecular interactions
3. Genetics, taxonomy and omics. Tools and reverse genetics
4. Early drug discovery. Animal models and genetic susceptibility. Drug resistance mechanism
5. Drug development: conventional and alternative. Clinical and experimental therapy in cutaneous and visceral leishmaniasis
6. Diagnostic methodology in practice and under development. Biomarkers in leishmaniasis
7. Clinical and experimental immunopathology and pathogenesis
8. Clinical and experimental prophylactic and therapeutic vaccination. Clinical and experimental immunology
9. Epidemiology. Asymptomatic infection
10. Leishmania-HIV co-infection
11. Leishmania-sandfly interactions
12. Reservoirs
13. Operational research
14. Control programs. National and international funding organizations
15. Mucocutaneous leishmaniasis, diffuse cutaneous leishmaniasis, post-kala-azar leishmaniasis


Submissions can be made to PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, PLOS Pathogens or PLOS ONE. Those articles which are accepted for publication will be included in a rolling collection on Leishmaniasis – papers will not be held for coordinated publication, as PLOS and the WL6 Scientific Committee do not want to delay the release of important research in this field.

From those papers accepted to the collection, DNDi will award prizes to 20 researchers at WL6. The WL6 Scientific Committee will decide which papers receive the prizes, which are intended to help fund the publication of future research in this field.

We encourage the community of biomedical scientists, healthcare professionals and public health workers, and particularly those in endemic or Low and Middle Income Countries, to participate in this new and fascinating PLOS Collection.

  • When submitting to the call for papers, authors should indicate that their research is intended for the WorldLeish-6 Collection on their cover letter.
  • Corresponding authors are responsible for the payment of Article Processing Charges to PLOS.
  • More information about Publication Fees can be found here.

For more information about the project contact or @PLOSCollections


Jorge Alvar, PhD, Head of Leishmaniasis, DNDi

Jorge Alvar, PhD, Head of Leishmaniasis, DNDi, graduated in Medicine and Surgery from the Complutense University of Madrid in 1979, and diplomed on Tropical Medicine & Parasitology in Hamburg, Germany. Following this, he obtained his PhD in Medicine before completing a postdoctorate at Cambridge University.

Dr Alvar was the Medical Officer in charge of the Leishmaniasis Control Programme in the Department of Neglected Tropical Diseases at the World Health Organization (WHO) between November 2004 and November 2012, having launched an ambitious strategic plan and specific control programmes in different regions and countries. Prior to this he was the director of the National Centre of Tropical Medicine at the Institute of Health Carlos III, Madrid, Spain. Dr Alvar has considerable expertise in, and has received awards for, his research in leishmaniasis epidemiology, chemotherapy and diagnosis, canine infection, and AIDS co-infection. He has a wide publication record spanning over 25 years and is also member of the editorial board for different journals, and fellow of the Royal Academy of Medicine, Spain.

Dr Alvar has co-authored numerous books and chapters on the subject of leishmaniasis and tropical medicine and has also been involved in the production of several documentaries on malaria and leishmaniasis. He has participated in more than 30 research projects from different national and international research agencies, and in a number of cooperation programmes in leishmaniasis in a dozen of countries in four continents with the Spanish Agency of  International Cooperation for the Development.


Javier Moreno, PhD, Director Collaborating Center for Leishmaniasis, WHO

Javier Moreno (Seville, Spain) graduated in Biology from the Complutense University of Madrid in 1987, obtained his PhD in Biology (Immunology Program) in 1994. Staff scientist at the National Centre for Microbiology  (Instituto de Salud Carlos III – ISCIII) from 2008. Head of the Unit for Leishmaniasis and Chagas Disease, between 2007 and 2010 he combined this activity with the position of Associate Professor of Microbiology in the Department of Molecular Biology at the Autonomous University of Madrid. He has participated in several research projects in leishmaniasis, particularly on immunity and vaccines against infection, and currently is principal investigator of several European and national projects, funded by various public agencies and several agreements with companies and private foundations. Expert of the European Medicine Agency (EMA).

As a researcher, his main lines of work are oriented on one side to study the immunological aspects of leishmaniasis vaccine development and analysis of the immunological mechanisms of resistance and pathogenesis associated with infection. He has participated in several trials of vaccines against human and canine leishmaniasis, which has also led to the development of experimental canine model and specific tools to analyze immunity. Another important area of research is the study of leishmaniasis in states of immunosuppression, which has contributed to understanding the risk of leishmaniasis in HIV+ patients, with solid organ transplants or under immunosuppressive therapies.

Dr Moreno is director of the WHO Collaborating Center for Leishmaniasis, which is responsible for providing support to activities that WHO carried out to assess outbreaks in countries such as Bangladesh, Bhutan, Ethiopia, Sudan or South Sudan. Since May 2015 is chair of the Parasitology Department at CNM-ISCIII.


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Photo credit: Don Paul/DNDi