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Marsden Grant success for Professor Greg Cook

Friday 1 November 2013 11:49am

University of Otago researchers have gained $13 million from the prestigious 2013 Marsden Funding round to carry out world-class research in a total of 22 research projects.

“They are outstanding in their fields, continuing the proud tradition at Otago for excellence in research that contributes to both national and world knowledge across a wide spectrum of disciplines. They have done extremely well to successfully attract the funding in a round that is so highly competitive.”
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) Professor Richard Blaikie.

Pumping lysine to achieve metabolic homeostasis during infection

Mycobacterium tuberculosis is a highly effective pathogen that has evolved numerous mechanisms to successfully invade, replicate, and persist in humans. We have identified an unprecedented role for a lysine transporter (exporter) during M. tuberculosis infection and mycobacterial growth on lipids.

Pathways to drug development and vaccine design

We hypothesize that lysine export is crucial for achieving metabolic homeostasis by acting as a “relief valve” or novel energy spilling mechanism. We will employ molecular biology and genetics, and appropriate in vivo models to address this hypothesis. The elucidation of molecular mechanisms governing metabolic homeostasis could identify critical pathways for targets in drug discovery or vaccine design in the fight against tuberculosis.

Professor Cook's project attracted $847,826 of funding.