South African professor receives international TB grant

Valerie Mizrahi, the director of the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine at the University of Cape Town, received a Senior International Research Scholar award to study tuberculosis this week.

Mizrahi is one of 13 leading scientists to receive the award from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Mizrahi studies cofactor, DNA and nucleotide metabolism in the human TB-causing Mycobacterium tuberculosis organism, reports.

Mizrahi's laboratory is looking to use its research to discover new drugs for TB by understanding potential metabolic vulnerabilities in the pathogen. Her work has been recognized around the world, earning her multiple accolades, including the Distinguished Woman Scientist Award from the Department of Science and Technology, the Gold Medal of the SA Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the Unesco-L'Oréal for Women.

In 2009, Mizrahi was elected into the Fellowship of the American Academy of Microbiology and was given an "A" rating by the National Research Foundation, according to

Mizrahi will receive a grant of $100,000 per year for five years and will be required to present her research at HHMI scientific meetings.

"Scientific research is a global endeavor, and these grants will provide an opportunity for these highly creative and accomplished scientists to explore new avenues of biomedical research, and to mentor promising early career scientists across the world," Robert Tjian, the president of HHMI, said, according to

The SIRS award supports outstanding biomedical scientists outside of the United States who have made major contributions to biological scientific research.