Dr. Marie Elliot, a biologist and member of the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research (IIDR) was one of six researchers from McMaster University to receive the prestigious NSERC Discovery Accelerator Supplement (DAS) grant.
DAS grants are awarded to researchers who are engaged in original and innovative research programs, and who demonstrate a strong potential to become international leaders within their respective fields.
Dr. Elliot, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Molecular Microbiology and Microbial Genomics, works with Streptomyces – the soil-dwelling bacterium, which produces the majority of the world’s antibiotics and other useful pharmacological- and agricultural-type compounds.
Renowned for their metabolic diversity, streptomycetes are prolific sources of an array of secondary metabolites, many of which have therapeutic application as antifungal, antibacterial and anticancer drugs.
With the DAS grant, Dr. Elliot and her team can continue to investigate RNA as a regulatory molecule. Within the last 10-15 years, biologists have come to realize that RNA is more than just a translational intermediate, and by gaining a deeper understanding of its regulatory contributions, Dr. Elliot says there is potential to develop strategies to manipulate these Streptomyces bacteria to make novel antibiotics.
Of the nearly 4,000 Discovery Grant recipients from across Canada, only 125 received the DAS grant.