The vitamin B-12, which is vital to human nutrition, is a very complex coenzyme that is produced by many microorganisms. Along with having an impact on the development of the human nervous system and preventing certain diseases, B-12 is also needed by human pathogens, like salmonella, for intestinal infections.
Jorge C. Escalante, from the University of Georgia, Athens department of microbiology, and his research team recently received a 5-year, $2.1 million MERIT award extension from the NIH to continue their research into the synthesis of B-12.
Escalante explained that "our coenzyme B-12 work benefits from important collaborations with structural biologists and spectroscopists. Such collaborations allow us to look in detail, from a biophysical and structural standpoint, into how the proteins involved in the assembly of B-12 work. We are trying to learn how the organisms synthesize this very complex molecule, which is the focus of the grant."
Researchers in the lab, both at the graduate and undergraduate levels, analyze the biosynthesis of B-12 in microorganisms through genetic, molecular biological and biochemical methods. Since the genes necessary to encode proteins in B-12 are not found in the human genome, Escalante believes that the biosynthesis of B-12 has potential to be used for future drug delivery and treatments.
"B-12 biosynthetic enzymes represent potential therapeutic targets. The development of antimicrobials that block B-12 biosynthesis in human pathogens is attractive because of the predicted absence of side effects on human cell function. The more we understand how B-12 biosynthetic enzymes work, the better positioned we are for drug development innovations," said Escalante.
With more than $45.8 million in active NIH funding from the 2015 fiscal year, the University of Georgia, Athens is a fruitful life science marketplace. Currently funded research being conducted in Athens include:
A partnership between Emory University and the University of Georgia that plays a key role in the nation's influenza research and surveillance programs has received a $3.6 million contract, with potential funding up to a total of $26.7 million available over seven years, from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
- The University of Georgia, Athens is in its second year of a 5-year $7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to research the processes of Glycan formation and it's involvement in disease development with the aim of discovering new therapeutics.
- University of Georgia cancer researchers still have 2 years of funding remaining from two five-year grants totaling $4.1 million. With the funding they have been exploring new methods of detecting ovarian and pancreatic cancers, using the most advanced technologies available.
PIs, grad students, post-docs, professors, purchasing agents, and other lab staff at this multi-million dollar institution have the means and need for new laboratory supplies to further their lab work. Biotechnology Calendar, Inc. holds an annual BioResearch Product Faire™ Event at UGA that provides laboratory suppliers with the premiere opportunity to market their products to researchers in Athens. The 17th Annial BioResearch Product Faire™ Event at the University of Georgia, Athens will be held on March 30th, 2016.
To learn more about participating in the 17th Annual BioResearch Product Faire™ Event at UGA on March 30th, 2015, visit the link below.
While in Georgia, make the most of your time and budget by participating in the Emory University event in Atlanta the following day, on March 31, 2016. Learn more about the 17th Annual BioResearch Product Faire™ Event at Emory here.