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Citizen Science Program presents

Killing Persistent Mycobacterium tuberculosis:  Insights from Captain James and Harry Houdini

Presented by William Jacobs

Monday, January 13, 2014

[Killing Persistent Mycobacterium tuberculosis:  Insights from Captain James and Harry Houdini]

Infectious diseases have plagued mankind throughout history and have posed serious public health problems.  Yet, vaccines have eradicated small pox and antibiotics have drastically decreased the mortality rate of many infectious agents.  These remarkable successes in the control of infections came from knowing the causative agents of the diseases followed by serendipitous discoveries of attenuated viruses and antibiotics. Knowledge of the mechanisms of immunity and mechanisms of action of drugs has led to new vaccines and new antimicrobial agents.  The key to the acquisition of the knowledge of these mechanisms has been identifying the elemental causes (i.e. genes and their products) that mediate immunity and drug resistance.  The identification of these genes is made possible by being able to transfer the genes or mutated forms of the genes into causative agents or surrogate hosts.  Such an approach was limited in Mycobacterium tuberculosis by the difficulty of transferring genes or alleles into M. tuberculosis or a suitable surrogate mycobacterial host.  The construction of shuttle phasmids, chimeric molecules that replicate in Escherichia coli as plasmids and in mycobacteria as mycobacteriophages, was instrumental in developing gene transfer systems for M. tuberculosis.  This presentation will discuss M. tuberculosis genetic systems and their impact on tuberculosis (TB) research.

 Dr. Jacobs is an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.


For more information, call 845-758-7490, or e-mail jcerulli@bard.edu.

Location: Fisher Center, Sosnoff Theater