Human cells infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Maximiliano Gutierrez : Areas of interest

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Our work aims to improve our knowledge of how M. tuberculosis survives within host cells and, on the other hand, the host cell autonomous mechanisms against mycobacteria. For that, we combine quantitative imaging approaches with biochemical and genetic tools.

Tuberculosis is the second cause of death from infectious diseases worldwide, with an estimated 10 million new cases in 2016 and 1.7 million deaths. In most of the infected people, bacteria establish a latent infection and over 2 billion people are estimated to have latent tuberculosis.

The obstacles that make tuberculosis hard to treat and eradicate are intrinsically linked to the intracellular lifestyle of Mtb. Mtbneeds to replicate within human cells to cause disease and disseminate to other hosts. In vitro and in vivo studies have shed light into some aspects of tuberculosis pathogenesis, however, we still do not understand how Mtb manages to survive within most eukaryotic cells and why some cells are able to eradicate this lethal pathogen.

We believe that understanding of the very fundamental biology of M. tuberculosis that considers its intracellular lifestyle is crucial for developing new therapies towards tuberculosis control.

Selected publications