New Stanford center targets Salmonella with $10M grant

Feb 07 2018

A new center at Stanford University has Salmonella in its crosshairs, with a $10 million grant to use against the bacteria that causes more than 100 million infections annually.


Markus Covert will head the Allen Discovery Center for Multiscale Systems Modeling of Macrophage Infection at Stanford University.


The Allen Discovery Center for Multiscale Systems Modeling of Macrophage Infection will be directed by Markus Covert, an associate professor of bioengineering. The center takes its name from its benefactor, Paul G. Allen of the Paul G. Allen Frontiers Group and formerly of Microsoft, which he co-founded four decades ago.


“Allen Discovery Centers are a new type of center for leadership-driven, compass-guided research in partnership with major research organizations and universities,” according to the Frontiers Group website.


“Each Center will typically receive $20 million over eight years with $10 million in partner leverage, for a total scope of $30 million each.” Another Discovery Center is being funded by the non-profit Frontiers Group at Tufts University.


The new Stanford center will explore intracellular and intercellular processes by which salmonella bacteria infect immune cells. Research will focus on understanding the interactions between salmonella bacteria and immune cells infected by the pathogen, as well as on treating such infections.


Species of salmonella cause more than 100 million symptomatic infections annually, including 16 million to 20 million cases of typhoid fever, according to a Stanford news release. The microorganism infects and hides out in immune cells called macrophages, manipulating the metabolism of these cells to its own benefit.


“We are grateful for the recognition and support of Stanford’s faculty in the area of quantitative bioscience,” Stanford President John Hennessy said in the news release. “The application of engineering and computational techniques to solving the hardest problems in biomedicine is one of the most exciting and promising research directions.”


Denise Monack, associate professor of microbiology and immunology, and K.C. Huang, associate professor of bioengineering and of microbiology and immunology, will be co-investigators at the center.



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