Mycobacterial Research

Head of Division - Prof Douglas Young

Mycobacteria are amongst the most important pathogens in humans. Ten million cases of tuberculosis cause two million deaths every year, in a global pandemic exacerbated by interactions with HIV/AIDS and by the emergence of multidrug-resistant strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Control of the bovine form of tuberculosis presents an important political and financial challenge in the UK and has unknown impact on health and economy in the developing world. While the global prevalence of leprosy has been markedly reduced by effective treatment over the last decade, more than half a million people continue to contract this debilitating disease every year.

Work in the Division of Mycobacterial Research exploits modern genome biology to understand the fundamental basis of the interactions that occur between pathogenic mycobacteria and their mammalian hosts and that determine the balance between protective immunity, latent infection and progressive disease. This research underpins development of the new drugs, vaccines and diagnostics that are required for improved control of mycobacterial diseases.

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