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TB metabolic processes and new pain treatments funded

4 November 2016

Two Maurice Wilkins Centre investigators have received Sir Charles Hercus Health Research Fellowships in the latest round of funding from the Health Research Council.

Affiliate investigators Dr Ghader Bashiri and Dr Christopher Walker will each receive four years’ funding as part of the fellowships to pursue their respective areas of research.

Dr Bashiri’s research will focus on the involvement of two key metabolic contributors to the anaerobic survival and persistence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), the bacterium that causes TB. This will complement work he has been involved in as part of the Maurice Wilkins Centre’s TB-flagship research programme.

“By deepening our understanding of bacterial persistence, the biggest roadblock to improved treatment for TB, this research will provide a framework for the future development of novel anti-TB drugs,” Dr Bashiri says.

Dr Walker will use the fellowship to investigate a new target for pain treatment in the nervous system. Uncovering how this new target works will fast-track the development of targeted pain-relieving therapies.

Dr Walker says only limited treatment options are currently available to people who suffer from chronic pain and these treatments simply lack the required effectiveness or have significant side-effects, including addiction and tolerance, which prohibit long term use.

“New classes of drugs, which have new mechanisms of action, are required to address this silent epidemic.”