$11.5 million NIAID/HHS grant for research to understand and solve persistent bloodstream infections

Aug. 17, 2023

According to an Aug. 15 news release from the Lundquist Institute, at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center has announced that TLI Principal Investigator, Michael Yeaman, PhD, has been awarded a grant totaling $11.5M from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Department of Health & Human Services. Yeaman is professor of Medicine at UCLA, and chief, division of Molecular Medicine at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.

The news release stated, “This new NIH U19 Center program will decode patterns of the human immune system and microbial pathogens that result in infections that are not cleared by antibiotics. In turn, defining such patterns will enable new ways to predict individuals at risk of such persistent infections, and inform best antibiotic regimens for cures. The focus of this U19 is on infections caused by the bacterium Staphylococcus, including methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) and the invasive fungus, Candida. These pathogens are among highest priorities for public health as determined by the NIAID and Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC).”

Further, “Dr. Yeaman and team made previous discoveries that laid essential groundwork for this project to find new ways to prevent and treat persistent bloodstream infections. The new research will take an even more innovative approach to this goal. Traditional genetics focus on the sequence of DNA to identify potential correlates of infection and immunity. The new U19 award goes further—by exploring patterns in how DNA is modified beyond sequence in ways that impact immune response and antibiotic efficacy against infection. This exciting frontier of biomedical research is called epigenomics.”

Yeaman and colleagues plan to apply immunology and computational methods to detect hidden epigenomic patterns within large datasets. The ultimate goal, according to the news release, is to accelerate discovery and development of new anti-infective agents, immunotherapies, and vaccines to improve and save lives.

The Lundquist Institute has the news release.