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Biosensor illuminates compounds to aid fight against TB

EAST LANSING, Mich. For his work on developing new treatments for tuberculosis, a Michigan State University researcher has been named a Grand Challenges Explorations winner, an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Robert Abramovitch of MSU's Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics is using a synthetic biosensor that glows green in response to conditions that mimic human tuberculosis infection. He will screen for compounds that target chronic TB infection and may help shorten therapy or treat multidrug-resistant TB, which does not respond well to existing antibiotics.

Grand Challenges Explorations funds individuals worldwide to explore ideas that can break the mold in solving persistent global health and development challenges. Abramovitch's project is one of more than 100 Grand Challenges Explorations Round 8 grants announced today by the Gates Foundation.

"Grand Challenges Explorations encourages individuals worldwide to expand the pipeline of ideas where creative, unorthodox thinking is most urgently needed," said Chris Wilson, director of Global Health Discovery and Translational Sciences at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "We're excited to provide additional funding for select grantees so that they can continue to advance their ideas toward global impact."

To receive funding, Abramovitch and other Grand Challenges Explorations Round 8 winners demonstrated a bold idea in one of five critical global heath and development topic areas that included agriculture development, immunization and nutrition.

"Combating the ongoing tuberculosis epidemic represents one of the major challenges in global health," said Abramovitch, who has appointments with MSU's colleges of Veterinary Medicine and Human Medicine, and AgBioResearch. "The required multidrug, six- to nine-month treatment regimen has fueled the emergence of drug-resistant TB, and new treatments are needed to treat this da

Contact: Jason Cody
Michigan State University

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