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U-M lab receives "Delta Leap" grant to study tuberculosis

ANN ARBOR – Even in the face of COVID-19, tuberculosis (TB) remains one of the most concerning infectious diseases to date. While one-third of the world is infected with TB, two million people die of TB each year, with 10 million new infections yearly. Treatment and prevention of TB is complicated—while a vaccine exists, it is poorly protective in adults and, thus, not used in the US or UK.

Dr. Denise Kirschner, head of the Kirschner Lab in U-M’s Department of Microbiology and Immunology, has studied TB for over 25 years. While many of the questions Dr. Kirschner examines relate to vaccine development and drug regimen design, a deeper understanding of immune response to infection is still largely elusive.

Delta Leap Program Logo

To further research on the subject, Dr. Kirschner recently received a grant from the Wellcome Trust. This funding is part of a new program, “Delta Leap,” which focuses on diseases such as TB and cancer. Sixteen teams of investigators from all over the world were awarded funding to tackle questions surrounding the physiology of disease progression. U-M’s Kirschner Lab, in partnership with the Linderman Lab in chemical engineering/biomedical engineering and other university collaborators throughout the country, will thread data from human and non-human samples to look at infection on a molecular and cellular level. This will provide information sufficient to build integrated prediction models and create what’s called a “TB Tissue Time Machine.”

If successful, the research funded by the Wellcome Trust will make it possible to intervene in diseases earlier, with approaches targeted toward the individual. It will also lead to improved understanding of the mechanisms that drive TB, which, in turn, will provide more opportunities for intervention and healing.

Find further information about the Wellcome Trust Delta Partnership.


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