New partnership formed to fight TB

Academics from the University of Birmingham School of Biosciences in the United Kingdom and peers from the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore have formed a partnership to fight tuberculosis.
The new research partnership will combine the complementary strengths of both institutions. The research will take a novel approach to studying the biology of the TB-causing bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis with the aim of developing new diagnostics and treatments.
Despite recent advances in the understanding of the biology of the bacterium, TB remains at epidemic levels worldwide and rates are particularly high in the Indian subcontinent. Until recently, techniques used to counteract TB remained largely the same as those used in the last century, including the choice of therapeutic drugs, the diagnosis methods and the vaccine.
The researchers plan to address four main areas of TB biology, including understanding the interplay between the bacterium's central metabolism and cell wall composition, deciphering how the "packaging" of the DNA of the bacterium uses special proteins to affect the expression of its genes, developing new technologies to study how the bacterium senses its environment and the evaluation of a diagnostic tool based on spectroscopic detection of a lipid biomarker.
“The funding provides an excellent opportunity to ‘jump start’ collaborative research on a disease of global significance that taps into the research strengths of each institution," Apoorva Bhatt, a lecturer in molecular microbiology at the University of Birmingham, said.
The project is funded as part of the Innovation Partnerships strand of the UK-India Education and Research Initiative.