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NIH R01 Grant Awards for PHRI Faculty

 
KochDr. Chaoyang Xue at PHRI received a new NIH R01 grant entitled “The role of inositol in Cryptococcus biology and pathogenesis.” The grant studies Cryptococcus neoformans, a deadly fungal pathogen that exhibits pronounced neurotropism: it is the leading cause of fungal meningitis. How C. neoformans cells traverse the blood-brain barrier (BBB) to infect the central nervous system (CNS) remains poorly understood. Dr. Xue’s group identified inositol, one abundant metabolites in the brain, as a host factor to promote fungal virulence during CNS infection. The goal of this grant is to obtain a detailed understanding of the mechanism by which C. neoformans acquires and utilizes host inositol to establish human brain infection. The grant proposes to 1) define inositol sensing and metabolic pathways required for modifying fungal cell surface structure; 2) characterize the mechanism of inositol-mediated promotion of C. neoformans BBB crossing and CNS infection; and 3) define the transcriptional circuits regulating inositol-dependent processes during cryptococcal brain infection. Together, these studies will elucidate a novel contribution of a brain metabolite, inositol, to the development of life-threatening fungal meningitis. As such, these studies promise to provide substantial insight into mechanisms by which pathogens cross the BBB and establish CNS infections.

Two other PHRI faculty were also awarded a new NIH RO1 grant. Dr. Barry Kreiswirth received a grant for his studies describing “The molecular basis of the carbapenem resistance epidemic.” This grant relates to Carbapenem resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae (CRKp) which is epidemic in New York City hospitals and is now also reported globally. CRKp infections present a major clinical challenge often resulting in poor therapeutic indices; however, the epidemiology and molecular basis driving the epidemic remains poorly understood. The studies proposed in the grant are designed to decipher the nature of an expanding epidemic, both from a local/global epidemiological and biologic perspective, and identify genetic and/or phenotypic traits catalyzing this epidemic. PHRI investigator Dr. Neeraj Chauhan has received a NIH R01 grant for his work “The Candida albicans acetylome in fungal virulence.” The grant includes Dr. Karl Kuchler, Medical University of Vienna, as a Co-investigator. The goal of the proposed research is to define the role of protein acetylation in C. albicans pathogenesis, with a long-term objective of identifying new drug targets for antifungal therapies. Lysine acetylation is a well-established major mechanism of regulating protein function, and lysine acetylases have been shown to play important roles in many cellular processes. However, while C. albicans contains several conserved lysine acetylases, their functions in fungal morphogenesis and virulence have remained unexplored. The main objective of this grant is to identify and characterize both histone and non-histone target genes of a paradigm acetyl transferase, Hat1 at the genome scale, and to investigate its role in regulating ncRNA processing in C. albicans. The proposed research will provide fundamental insights into C. albicans pathogenesis and virulence, potentially laying the foundation for new antifungal therapeutic strategies.



  World TB Day: Thursday, March 24, 2016

 
KochMarch 24, 2016, was World Tuberculosis Day (TB Day). On March 24, 1882, Dr. Robert Koch announced the discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacterium that causes tuberculosis (TB). During this time, TB killed one out of every seven people living in the United States and Europe. Dr. Koch’s discovery was the most important step taken toward the control and elimination of this deadly disease. In 1982, a century after Dr. Koch's announcement, the first World TB Day was sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (IUATLD). The event was intended to educate the public about the devastating health and economic consequences of TB, its effect on developing countries, and its continued tragic impact on global health. Today, World TB Day is commemorated across the globe, but more must be done to raise awareness about the effects of TB. Among infectious diseases, TB remains the second leading killer of adults in the world, with approximately1.5 million TB-related deaths in 2013. Until TB is controlled, World TB Day won’t be a celebration, but it is a valuable opportunity to educate the public about the devastation TB can spread and how it can be stopped. PHRI has a long history of research on the research and clinical aspects of TB. This year, several faculty members from PHRI and other departments at the New Jersey Medical School participated in the World TB Day symposium that was held on March 31 and April 1. This event was hosted at PHRI.

Follow this link to download a PDF copy of the World TB Day Symposium Agenda

A history on Tuberculosis research at PHRI can be read in the following PDF document


   
  
 
  01.30.17   ww.asm.org: The dangers of closing the borders on global science
  12.27.16   www.obits.nj.com: Dr. Sidney Pestka Known as the "Father of Interferon, passed away on December 22, 2016
  12.27.16   www.obits.nj.com: Dr. Leon Smith, one of the first infectious disease specialists in New Jersey, passed away on december 19, 2016
  10.10.16   www.mdlinx.com: CDC funds 34 innovative projects to combat antibiotic resistance
  09.20.16   CDC news: New data show antibiotic use in U.S. hospitals Is still too high
  09.06.16   www.mdlinx.com: Researchers identify multidrug-resistant E. coli bacteria from New Jersey patient


 
  02.23.17   February's Paper Highlights features a publication by Christophers Vinnards's group on a retrospective cohort study to determine the relationship between drug resistance and 10-year mortality among Tuberculosis meningitis patients For details, please visit PHRI Paper Highlights
    
  01.20.17   January's Paper Highlights features a publication by Barry Kreiswirth's group on the transmission of highly drug resistant Tuberculosis from person-to-person. For details, please download a PDF copy of the publication.
    
  01.17.17   David Perlin, together with other members of GAFFI (the Global Action Fund for Fungal Infections), published an article in Emerging Infectious Diseases to discusses the misuse of antibacterial antibiotics. Follow these links to download a PDF copy of the article and a PDF copy of GAFFI's press release

In addition, Rutgers Today and Medical Press reported on the publictaion at www.news.rutgers.edu and MedicalPress.pdf
    
  12.19.16   December's Paper Highlights features two publications by Marilla Gennaro's group. For details, please visit PHRI Paper Highlights
    
  11.28.16   We regret to announce the passing of Dr. Kendyl Kurth Monroe, former Board Chairman of the Public Helath Reserach Insitute. Dr. Monroe's Obituary can be read at www.legacy.com.
    
  10.06.16   Dr. David Perlin and his group has been awarded a $300,000 contract by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to investigate genetic mechanisms and factors fueling emergence of antifungal drug resistance in the clinic by the common fungal pathogen Candida glabrata. For details on the award, visit www.newswise.com and ored.rutgers.edu
    


 


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