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Research / Discovery

Tuberculosis innovation at CSU: Life saving. World Changing.

August 17, 2012

Although tuberculosis has existed for thousands of years, there have been few medical advancements in tuberculosis prevention and treatment in the last half century.

Tuberculosis innovation

(6 images)

Delphi Chatterjee, a tuberculosis researcher at CSU, and Prithwiraj De, a researcher in Chatterjee's lab, discuss De's work to synthesize a sugar-based M. tuberculosis (the bacteria that causes tuberculosis) compound that can later be used for developing point-of-care diagnostic test.

Researcher Anne Lenaerts looks at at a microscopic slide of a mouse lung infected with TB. An important part of her research, she and her team look at the pathology of the lung in human tuberculosis patients and try to model this closely in the lab so realistic models can be used to evaluated potential new tuberculosis drugs.

Dean Crick, who oversees the tuberculosis research group at CSU while conducting his own tuberculosis research, talks with his colleague Hana Gatlawi. Gatlawi is a Ph.D. student in Crick's lab who studies the enzymes involved in energy metabolism in mycobacteria. Studying these enzymes may help scientists find new ways for drugs to target tuberculosis.

Dr. Patrick Brennan and Jason Bradshaw, an undergraduate researcher working on tuberculosis research, discuss Bradshaw's work. He has separated the tuberculosis antigens that are used to help diagnose tuberculosis. The antigens in this picture are stained blue and Dr. Brennan is says that he is impressed with the very fine resolution that Bradshaw obtained.

Mary Jackson and Rabeb Dhouib, a post-doctoral fellow, look at the color of the bacteria in Petri dishes to determine if the proteins might interact. Protein structures play a role in building a protective envelope around the bacteria that causes tuberculosis. The envelope protects the bacteria, including shielding it from drugs. Jackson hopes this research will lead to drugs that can break through the envelope.

Brice Thompson, an undergraduate student working in a tuberculosis research lab, sets up a test called a PCR reaction. The reaction detects mycobacterial DNA in host tissues.


No new drugs have emerged in decades, and skin scratch tests that are 100 years old are the standard in poor countries. Yet, tuberculosis causes 1.4 million new illnesses each year. The average treatment for a person with tuberculosis is six months on multiple antibiotics. And, strains of tuberculosis that are resistant to many – and in some cases, all—treatments are emerging.

But CSU scientists recently have made several exciting advancements, and some of the tuberculosis vaccines and drugs that have been tested at CSU are now in clinical trials in South Africa.

Learn more about CSU’s tuberculosis research.

Contact: Dell Rae Moellenberg
Phone: (970) 491-6009