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UT Southwestern scientist receives NIH Director's New Innovator Award
Date:10/1/2007

DALLAS Oct. 1, 2007 Dr. Tawanda Gumbo, an assistant professor of infectious diseases at UT Southwestern Medical Center, has been named one of the inaugural winners of the National Institutes of Health Directors New Innovator Award.

Dr. Gumbo is one of three Texas scientists and one of 29 nationwide to be named recipients of the award, which provides $1.5 million each over five years and is designed to recognize bold ideas from some of the nations most innovative new scientists. More than 2,100 applications were submitted.

The New Innovator Awards are given to early-career researchers who havent yet received a research project grant from the NIH. The awards are part of the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research, which promotes interdisciplinary and innovative research.

Dr. Gumbos research focuses on tuberculosis and extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis, a newly identified strain of TB that leaves patients virtually untreatable using existing anti-TB drugs. He has published numerous scientific papers on TB, AIDS and other infectious diseases.

About one-third of the worlds population is infected with mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacterium that causes TB, and as many as 2 million people die of the disease each year. TB, which is the leading cause of death among people infected with HIV/AIDS, kills more people than any other disease caused by a single infectious agent, according to NIH data.

Dr. Beth Levine, professor of internal medicine and microbiology and chief of the division of infectious diseases at UT Southwestern, called the award a great honor for Dr. Gumbo.

The problem of drug resistance is emerging worldwide, Dr. Levine said. The idea that there might be a way to add a drug to prevent the resistance as well as to shorten and simplify therapy for all TB strains has major global health implications for treating this disease.

In his laboratory, Dr. Gumbo measures how antimicrobial drug
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Contact: Kristen Holland Shear
kristen.hollandshear@utsouthwestern.edu
214-648-3404
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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