Griffith University will use a $2.95 million NHMRC grant to take a unique focus on targeting sugar interactions to prevent and treat bacterial infections that cause meningitis, pneumonia and gastrointestinal infections.
Professor Michael Jennings from Griffith’s Institute for Glycomics was recently awarded the funding for his research into discovering and exploiting glycointeractions to create new opportunities to diagnose, prevent and treat disease.
“Targeting sugar interactions is quite a novel approach, so it will provide new opportunities to nip the infection in the bud before the patient experiences the full gamut of symptoms,” Professor Jennings said.
“Carbohydrates cover the surface of every form of life from viruses to bacteria and to human cells.
“These carbohydrates are referred to as glycans and frequently serve as important recognition sites for biological processes that occur in health and disease.
“Disease-causing viruses, bacteria and parasites often target human cells via glycan interactions.
“If we can successfully repurpose drugs or develop vaccines that target the toxins or adhesins that bind to the surface of human cell, we may be able to prevent or treat the infection.”
Professor Mark von Itzstein AO, Director, Griffith University’s Institute for Glycomics said: “We are delighted Professor Michael Jennings has been awarded the most senior Investigator Grant.”
“He has made outstanding achievements throughout his research over the past decade and more.”
An L3 Investigator Grant is the highest level of Investigator Grant awarded by the NHMRC and follows on from previous fellowship support for Professor Jennings’ research program by an NHMRC Principal Research Fellowship.