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May
01

The next generation of Tuberculosis researchers

I like to help and mentor students in various ways when I can. Over the years this has lead to some fun projects and computational models. For a long time I have been an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Maryland, yet today I heard about a group of undergraduates there working on Tuberculosis. I have no connection to this group at all so I feel like there is no conflict of interest. They are a group of interdisciplinary honors undergraduates trying to raise $6000 to fund their research project. Their goal as they state “is to find a known drug that decreases virulence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis by looking for protein interactions in ESX-1 and ESX-5 secretion systems or the Nuo operon”.
They simply need the money to buy a library of FDA approved drugs to screen and they have used crowdfunding to try to get there.
My only feedback would be that this may be an OK place to start with a library of known drugs but there has been considerable screening of FDA drugs versus whole cell MTB etc..with limited traction. Perhaps they could also contact the NIH to get the NIH Clinical Set of over 700 drugs for free. Then they can save their money for follow up of compounds and in vitro ADME screens or in vivo testing. Also perhaps they could look at compounds that have already shown whole cell activity and work from them to deduce their mechanism – there are several thousand of these from NIH screens done at SRI. In addition there are the 177 actives from GSK.
Hopefully these young scientists represent the next generation of tuberculosis researchers. I applaud them for taking on such a project against a tough bug like Mycobacterium tuberculosis. I hope by raising awareness of their efforts we can help them reach their goal.

1 comment

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  1. Anshu Bhardwaj says:

    Dear Sean,
    Thanks for sharing the link. I am sure the answer lies with the next gen Tuberculosis researchers. Let us ‘connect’ these young researchers globally so that they can do much more. You may like to share the following link with them – http://c2d.osdd.net/home/p2i

    P2I is a community effort where a group of undergrad students are attempting to identify novel lead generation strategies for targets pursued by the OSDD Community.

    I am sure you have seen – http://2013.igem.org/Team:Paris_Bettencourt

    All the best with the crowdfunding efforts for generating funds for experiments.

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