The battle between the body’s 'bad' and 'good' bacteria is coming under the lens in a two-year Meningitis Now funded research project headed by Christoph Tang and Rachel Exley, with support from Errin Johnson, launched in June 2016.
In the project titled: ‘Understanding the biology of Neisseria cinerea for the prevention of meningococcal disease’ the Dunn School team, in collaboration with Professor Robert Read from the University of Southampton, hope to discover the role of non-pathogenic Neisseria in tackling the related pathogen N. meningitidis that is responsible for bloodstream poisoning and meningitis, and examine the potential of exploiting this protective effect.
Chris explains: “We will study how the harmless bacterium N. cinerea colonises cells at the back of the throat and whether it can either block the binding and invasion of N. meningitidis, or can directly kill it; we have discovered that N. cinerea has molecular weapons that are often used to destroy neighbouring bacteria. We also hope to find out whether we can use N. cinerea to stimulate our immune system to destroy N. meningitidis.”
To find out more visit the Tang lab research pages: http://www.path.ox.ac.uk/content/christoph-tang