Projects and Cores

Project 1, A multi-disciplinary approach to the identification of host metabolic determinants of TB clinical phenotypes

Although human metabolic risk factors are emerging as strong predictors of TB susceptibility, the mechanisms through which they affect the risk and severity of disease have not been elucidated.  A better understanding of the molecular pathways that link metabolic and immune responses might provide targets for the development of therapeutic interventions. Here, we use human genetic and transcriptional studies and a guinea pig model to explore these pathways.

Poject 2, Identify the host genetic determinants of immune response and TB control

This project seeks to investigate the role of effector functions in T-cell subsets to understand which genes in the broader population might predispose certain individuals to tuberculosis or form the basis of therapy. This innovative approach investigates T cell function beyond basic immunological classifications, which have already been shown to play a crucial role in tuberculosis infection risk.

Project 3, Discovery of pathogen shed lipids as specific markers of tuberculosis

New immunological and biochemical tests that allow rapid and specific diagnosis can be one of the most powerful tools to limit the spread of tuberculosis. Here we take advantage of the unusual chemical nature of M. tuberculosis lipids and the highly specific patient responses to lipid antigens to develop specific tests for patients with active TB disease or relapse after treatment.

Human Subjects Core

The Human Subjects Core supports the TBRU's scientific goals by partnering with Socios en Salud, a well established field site, to recruit and follow TB patients and household contacts in high burden TB settings in Lima. 

Bioinformatics Core

The Bioinformatics Core provides the TBRU with the capacity to generate high throughput data from modern assays and the access to advanced analytical tools to integrate and interpret these complex datasets. 

Animal Models Core

The Animal Models Core models tuberculosis in guinea pigs to mimic disease control or progression to death in  humans. The parallel study of humans and guinea pigs enables us to understand how the bacterium surivies in vivo in human patients.

Metabolomics Core

The Metabolomics Core supports the TBRU with biosafety level 3 suite for handling infectious samples and integrated technologies for massive, parallel detection of mycobacerial metabolites using Time of Flight mass spectrometry, specialized resources for idnetifing known mycobacterial compounds and analytical capabilities to discover previously unknown compounds.