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Genetic makeup of deadly cholera bacteria to be mapped in project


Ottawa, ON – A Canadian microbiologist has won a National Research Council of Canada (NRC) award, which will fund two years of research to map the genetic makeup of a bacteria that has killed millions around the world.

Dr Brian Davies will use the $198,000 HL Holmes Award to try to understand how cholera – a bacteria that causes severe gastrointestinal disease – reacts inside the body. The research will be conducted at Harvard Medical School.

The research has the potential to determine the pathways and processes by which bacteria in general create disease, helping medical researchers develop more effective ways to block disease at the cellular level.

“I’m excited about studying this bacterium and the changes in gene expression it undergoes once it’s taken up by the human host,” said Dr Davies. “Using a combination of traditional genetics, functional genomics and a novel proteomic technology, I intend to map the gene regulatory networks and identify the secreted proteins that cause cholera.”

Dr Davies is the sixth recipient of the NRC HL Holmes Award. Past winners include Dr Jennifer Estall (2007), Dr Michael Cowan (2005), Dr Alison Allan (2003), Dr Suzanne Demczuk (1997) and Dr Carol Dallaire (1994).