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$50K for professor’s TB research

Published: Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Updated: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 13:02

prof50k

Courtesy Bree Aldridge

Bree Aldridge, an assistant professor of molecular biology and microbiology at the Tufts School of Medicine, earlier this month received a two-year, $50,000 research fellowship that she will use to further her work on tuberculosis.

Assistant Professor of Molecular Biology and Microbiology Bree Aldridge last week received a $50,000 research fellowship from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation for her research on tuberculosis.

“I was definitely surprised and very excited,” Aldridge told the Daily in an email.

The focus of Aldridge’s research is tuberculosis, a disease she said currently infects a third of the world’s population and kills 1.5 to two million people every year. 

“We still lack an effective vaccine and rapid treatment and diagnostics for TB,” Aldridge said. “My goal is to use a comprehensive understanding of how mycobacteria survive drug treatment to design rapid and effective drug treatment.”

The Sloan fellowship grant lets Aldridge choose how she uses her $50,000 award, according to Nathan Williams, a Sloan Foundation spokesperson. Williams added that the grant can go towards paying a teaching assistant, conference travel, equipment, or any other research-related venture.

Tuberculosis, the focus of Aldridge’s research, is a particularly important proplem for microbiologists to address because of how quickly it has begun to develop resistance to new drugs, she said. 

“Drug resistant strains of TB are spreading, and we desperately need more effective therapies and vaccines,” she said. “We and other labs are working hard revolutionize our understanding of this disease so that we can finally put a stop to this tragic infectious disease.”

John Leong, chair of molecular biology and microbiology department at the Tufts School of Medicine, nominated Aldridge for the two-year research fellowship.

“I feel very honored,” Aldridge said. “This fellowship is awarded to new faculty, and the support enables us to accelerate and launch our research programs.”

Aldridge marks the sixth member of Tufts faculty to receive the award, Williams said. Aldridge added that she has benefited from a collaborative atmosphere at the School of Medicine. 

“I am finding that Tufts is an excellent place for research,” Aldridge said. “We have a unique combination of scientific excellence and collegiality that makes it a perfect environment for interdisciplinary research.”

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