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Theobald Smith Society “Young Investigator Award” for PHRI Faculty

SubbianDr. Selvakumar Subbian, Assistant Professor at the Public Health Research Institute (PHRI) of New Jersey Medical School (NJMS) has been awarded the “Young Investigator Award” for 2017 by the Theobald Smith Society (TSS). This award recognizes the scientific achievements of young investigators in the junior stages of their career, working in either academics or industry. TSS is a branch of American Society for Microbiology (ASM). The candidate for TSS awards are nominated primarily by senior scientists and/or research directors to recognize exceptionally qualified people. More details about TSS can be found at www.asmbranches.org

Dr. Subbian’s research at PHRI encompasses studies of human infectious diseases using in vitro and animal models to better understand host immune responses, particularly in tuberculosis. His research is supported by funds from NIH/NIAID, Gates Foundation and by NJHF.

  World TB Day: Thursday, March 24, 2017

KochOn 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.

Visit www.cdc.gov to CDC's drug resistant TB Infographic

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

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.

  07.10.17   www.mdlinx.com: WHO warns of imminent spread of untreatable gonorrhea
  06.28.17   www.mdlinx.com: Update: Pharmacy exec tied to 2012 US meningitis outbreak gets 9 years in prison
  06.21.17   nytimes.com: What Killed Half a Million Indians?
  05.08.17   finance.yahoo.com: Ancient, giant viruses are being unearthed in Arctic ice that's at risk of melting
  04.03.17   www.cnn.com: 'Patient zero': The misunderstood stories of how disease spreads
  03.30.17   www.carb-x.org: CARB-X injects up to $48 million to accelerate drug discovery and development projects to tackle antibiotic resistance
  03.24.17   www.nytimes.com: The real threat to national security: deadly disease
  03.10.17   www.msn.com: Deadly fungal infection that doctors have been fearing now reported in U.S.
  01.30.17   www.asm.org: The dangers of closing the borders on global science

  05.16.17   The American Society for Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics selected Dr. Christopher Vinnard as a new member. His member profile will be highlighted in the June 2017 issue of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics. For more details, please visit www.wiley.com.

  04.05.17   Dr. David Perlin submitted a letter To the Editor on a recent article in the New York Times entitled "The Real Threat to National Security: Deadly Disease" by Michael Osterholm and Mark Olshaker published on March 24, 2017. His letter can be viewed at www.nytimes.com.

To read the original New York Times article, click here.
  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


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