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Syracuse University receives $2 million from NSF
Date:11/8/2011

Principal investigator Dacheng Ren, assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical and Chemical Engineering (BMCE) in Syracuse University's L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science (LCS) and member of the Syracuse Biomaterials Institute (SBI); and co-PIs professors Rebecca Bader (BMCE and SBI), Yan-Yeung Luk (chemistry and SBI), R. "Suresh" Sureshkumar (BMCE) and Ramesh Raina (biology), have been awarded $2 million by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to conduct research on deciphering and controlling the signaling processes in bacterial multicellular systems and bacteria-host interactions.

This grant comes from the Office of Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation (EFRI) and was only awarded to 14 teams nationally this year.

Bacterial tolerance to antibiotics and disinfectants causes numerous problems of infections and biofouling. Bacteria achieve such tolerance by forming sessile colonies in an extracellular matrix, known as biofilms, and by forming dormant persister cells, similar to spores. Inherent in bacterial populations, persister cells are believed to play important roles in chronic infections like tuberculosis, persistent fungal infections and lung infections in cystic fibrosis patients. The dormant properties of these persister cells make them tolerant to almost all antibiotics. Therefore, infections can reoccur once a person stops antibiotic treatment since the bacteria can regrow from the persister cells and attack again.

By employing a multidisciplinary approach, the team will focus on understanding and manipulating the multicellular and inter-kingdom signaling processes of these complex systems. The team will perform experiments in the areas of material design, functional genomics, bioinformatics, molecular simulation and nanotechnology, with the main goals being to understand persister formation in biofilm development, to investigate the associated signaling processes and to synthesize func
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Contact: Ariel DuChene
adduchen@syr.edu
315-443-2546
Syracuse University
Source:Eurekalert

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