Shumin Tan, Ph.D.

Shumin Tan, Ph.D.

Institution: Tufts University

Project: Gaining Insights into a Regulator that Affects Growth of Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Grant(s): Innovation Award

Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) causes tuberculosis, a lung disease that is the leading cause of death globally from an infectious disease. A hallmark of Mtb infection is the non-uniform state of the bacteria, including differences in its growth status. This non-uniformity has profound effects on both disease and treatment outcome, as some drugs are more effective against actively growing Mtb. However, much remains unknown regarding the processes that “decide” whether Mtb grows or not during infection. We will study an essential Mtb regulator that we discovered broadly impacts Mtb response to several key environmental cues, including signals that can drive Mtb into a non-growing state. By gaining a greater understanding of this protein, we will lay the foundation for new ways to disrupt the bacterium’s ability to grow in its host. This has vital implications for successful treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis. 

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