News

University receives funding for groundbreaking research in global health and development

Professor Martha Clokie (pictured) from the Department of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation has been awarded funding to develop bacteriophages to target bacterial infant diarrhoea in the developing world where it causes significant mortality.

Our University has announced that it is a Grand Challenges Explorations winner, an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  Professor Clokie will pursue an innovative global health and development research project, titled ‘Developing bacteriophages to eradicate infant Shigella’. Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE) funds individuals worldwide to explore ideas that can break the mold in how we solve persistent global health and development challenges.

Professor Clokie is a bacteriophage biologist at the University and much of her work focuses on the fundamental science needed to underpin the development of phages as novel therapeutics to treat bacteria that are difficult to treat using conventional antibiotics.

She said: “Phages (viruses that kill bacteria) could be given to patients to treat bacteria that cause disease, or they could be given to manipulate human gut bacteria when they have got out of balance, and are associated with disease.

“We will capitalise on expertise here at the University of Leicester in order to determine the efficacy of phages to Shigella, and establish how they change the gut flora. This will be key to future developments where we hope to use phages to target bacterial infant diarrhoea in the developing world where it causes significant mortality.”

Watch a video clip of Professor Martha Clokie explaining what Bacteriophages are and how they may help with the ever growing problem of antibiotic resistance below:

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