The NIH has awarded Seattle Biomedical Research Institute (Seattle BioMed) a $16.6 million grant over a five-year period from NIAID to take a comprehensive systems approach to the problem of tuberculosis (TB) infection. The research will be focused on predicting which carriers will become actively ill with TB.

Seattle BioMed says that the grant, titled “Omics of TB Disease Progression,” will for the first time allow researchers to study many sides of TB infection simultaneously with the goal of finding out how and in whom TB causes illness. The grant will involve a team of several scientists at Seattle BioMed, in collaboration with the Institute for Systems Biology (ISB) and ETH Zurich, that reportedly comprises experts from both the host side of the disease and the pathogen side, along with authorities in the field of systems biology and biotechnology.

“Research in TB has never been more critical, and this collaboration represents an important change in how disease research is done, making a move from a ‘trial and error’ approach to predictive modeling,” said Alan Aderem, Ph.D., president of Seattle BioMed, in a statement. “By drawing on our collective expertise, and by taking advantage of the predictive power of systems biology, we can tackle the problem of TB in an entirely new way, potentially elucidating new drug targets or informing vaccine development.”

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