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Investigator awarded major Health Research Council grant

7 June 2012

Maurice Wilkins Centre principal investigator Professor John Fraser and his research team at The University of Auckland were awarded significant funds in the annual Health Research Council of New Zealand grant round, for their research tackling infectious disease.

The researchers are actively combating these issues with their programme of research aimed at better understanding the mechanisms that allow microbes to infect, and survive in, the human body.

The Health Research Council has just allocated a further $4.9 million dollars to extend this research programme for another three years. The team are targeting three organisms: Staphylococcus aureus (a common cause of hospital-acquired infections, able to shield itself effectively from immune system defences), Streptococcus pyogenes (the cause of many diseases including rheumatic fever and necrotising fasciitis, also adept at invading the immune response of its host) and Mycobacterium tuberculosis (the most common cause of tuberculosis).

With the knowledge the research team can gain from studying the entire genome of these pathogens they will work on new ways to protect against infection and develop new treatments that they have not acquired the ability to resist, including vaccines.