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NIAID Awards Consortium $6.5M to Investigate S. Aureus

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – A consortium headed by researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center have been awarded a five-year, $6.5 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to conduct investigations of Staphylococcus aureus.

The research will be headed by Gregg Silverman, a professor of medicine and pathology at NYU Langone, who said in a statement that the goal is to identify all the S. aureus antigens that are "fundamental to effective immune defenses." He added that his group will use a strategy that combines proteomic and genetic approaches for candidate antigen discovery.

Other NYU Langone research groups participating in the project include the Laboratory for Staph Pathogenesis, headed by Victor Torres, an associate professor of microbiology; the Proteomics Core Lab, headed by Beatrix Ueberheide, an assistant professor of microbiology and molecular pharmacology; and the Clinical and Bacteriology Core Laboratory, headed by Bo Shopsin, an assistant professor in the departments of medicine and microbiology.

In addition to NYU Langone, the consortium includes the Hospital for Special Surgery, Bellevue Hospital Center, and Vanderbilt University. The University of California, San Diego will provide certain specialized computational analyses.

NYU Langone noted that between 1999 and 2005, the rate of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus-related hospital discharges has doubled from 3.9 to 8 per 1,000 hospitalizations in the US. An estimated 10,000 fatal infections occur each year, it added, and the development of multiple antibiotic resistance has made treatment increasingly difficult.

"We hope that with a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying Staph aureus, we may move closer to developing an effective vaccine or immune therapeutic against this pathogen," Silverman said.