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MCW Researchers to Study Tuberculosis Immunity

Feb. 11, 2013

The Medical College of Wisconsin has received a two year, $420,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to study proteins associated with tuberculosis immunity.

Richard T. Robinson, Ph.D. and Mark T. McNally, Ph.D., are co-investigators of the grant. Dr. Robinson is an assistant professor and Dr. McNally is an associate professor, both in the department of microbiology and molecular genetics.

Tuberculosis is one of the world’s deadliest diseases. According to the Centers for Disease Control, one third of the world’s population is infected, and in 2011, 1.4 million people died as a result of the disease. More than 10,000 cases of tuberculosis were reported in the United States in 2011.

A protein called IL12RB1 is well established as being critical for human immunity to Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which is the bacterium that causes tuberculosis. In this research project, investigators will evaluate two isoforms of that protein (different forms of the same protein), to determine how they are generated and whether they are effective in controlling tuberculosis infection.

This research will further understanding of the protein IL12RB1, which could lead to better methods to control tuberculosis infection.

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