Understanding the biological principles that underlie the mechanisms by which infectious agents adapt to and undermine the defense mechanisms of a host organism is critical for the development of therapeutic agents to fight disease. The LaMontagne Center for Infectious Disease conducts basic and translational research into the molecular mechanisms of pathogenesis of bacterial, viral, parasitic, or fungal infections and strategies for their prophylaxis and therapy. The LaMontagne Center was established at The University of Texas at Austin in November 2013 as the Center for Infectious Disease (CID) and was renamed just over three years later for scientist and public health champion John Ring LaMontagne. The LaMontagne Center, while located within the College of Natural Sciences, is composed of highly interdisciplinary researchers spanning at least four colleges: Natural Sciences, Engineering, Pharmacy, and the Dell Medical School.
Infectious Disease News
Expanding rapid testing stands out as an affordable way to help mitigate risks associated with COVID-19 and emerging variants. Infectious disease researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a new model that tailors testing recommendations to new variants and likely immunity levels in a community, offering a new strategy as public health leaders seek a way out of a pandemic that has so far thwarted the best efforts to end its spread. It is the first study to identify optimal levels of testing in a partially immunized population.
Until COVID-19, few people alive today had experienced the chaos and destruction of a really bad pandemic, one that has at times ground businesses, schools and social lives to a near standstill and killed millions globally. But did you know that we aren't alone in being battered by a global infectious disease? Frogs are also struggling through their own pandemic that, according to biologist Kelly Zamudio, has several eerie parallels with COVID-19. Perhaps our own encounters with a pandemic will give us new sympathy for our slimy, bug-eyed friends.
UT Austin structural biologist Jason McLellan, Ph.D., is the recipient of the 2022 Edith and Peter O'Donnell Award in Medicine from TAMEST (The Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas). He was chosen for his breakthrough research in mapping, modifying, and stabilizing coronavirus spike proteins, which paved the way for the creation of leading COVID-19 vaccines.
Few developments have rocked the biotechnology world or generated as much buzz as the discovery of CRISPR-Cas systems, a breakthrough in gene editing recognized in 2020 with a Nobel Prize. But these systems that naturally occur in bacteria are limited because they can make only small tweaks to genes. In recent years, scientists discovered a different system in bacteria that might lead to even more powerful methods for gene editing, given its unique ability to insert genes or whole sections of DNA in a genome.