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University of Liverpool Professor, Jay Hinton, has received a prestigious Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award for his work on a new type of Salmonella bacteria that is causing thousands of deaths in sub-Saharan Africa.
The £1.5 million funding will support a major five-year research project focused on invasive non-typhoidal Salmonellosis (iNTS), a disease responsible for a new epidemic of bloodstream infections in African people.
The awards aim to support exceptional, world-class researchers to address the most important questions of human disease.
Thousands of deaths
Salmonella target HIV-infected adults and immune-suppressed children, and is killing more than 380,000 people each year across Africa. Although the clinical picture is well-established, little is known about the infection biology of iNTS pathogens because of the lack of basic research into this neglected disease.
Professor Hinton, from the University’s Institute of Integrative Biology, said: “I was shocked when I discovered how many people were dying as a result of Salmonellosis in Africa, and I decided to refocus my research towards this dangerous emerging pathogen.
“The support of the Wellcome Trust means that we can use our state of the art approaches to tackle a really important health problem.”
The project will identify the virulence factors of Salmonella that are responsible for a new clinical syndrome in Africa, and will drive future developments of novel therapeutics and vaccines to combat this dangerous infection.
A pioneering approach, developed by Professor Hinton to study Salmonella gene expression will also be used to find the bacterial genes that are switched on during the actual process of infection. This will help to reveal how the Salmonella are causing disease.
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