The 2016 Michael G. DeGroote Fellowship Award in Basic Biomedical Science, one of the Faculty of Health Sciences’ most prestigious fellowships, has been awarded to Dr. Venkateswarlu “Venky” Yarlagadda, a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Infectious Disease Research (IIDR).
Since joining the IIDR in January 2016 from India’s Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), Yarlagadda has dedicated his time to the discovery and development of novel methods to combat drug-resistant bacterial infections.
“Antimicrobial resistance is one of the biggest global challenges today, and we need new antibiotics, with new modes of action, to combat this crisis,” Yarlagadda explains.
“My research focuses heavily on a protein found in bacteria called Elongation Factor-Tu (EF-Tu), which plays a major role in protein biosynthesis. EF-Tu is also vital for bacterial survival during immune evasion and is responsible for the formation of persisters and biofilms, making it the ideal target for new antibacterials.”
Funded through the generosity of Michael G. DeGroote, the fellowship will provide support of $40,000 for one year. An additional $10,000 will come from Yarlagadda’s supervisor, Dr. Gerry Wright, bringing the total annual amount to $50,000.
“I’m very fortunate to have received this fellowship,” Yarlagadda says. “It will play a vital role in allowing me to progress in my field of research.”
He adds: “As a member of the Wright Lab, I work with the best in the field of antibiotic discovery. It has been a privilege to conduct my research alongside them in a facility with state-of-the-art infrastructure and equipment.”