Identification of tuberculosis infection resistant genes
Aurélie Cobat studies the genetic factors in the host that predispose it to tuberculosis infection. Tuberculosis is a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb). This disease remains a major public health problem throughout the world, with 9 million new cases and 2 million deaths per year, and one-third of the world's population infected.
Approximately 20% of the persons exposed to Mtb seem to be naturally resistant to infection, and only 10% of the persons infected will develop a tuberculous illness in the course of their lives. One explanation for this variability among individuals may be the existence of genetic factors in the host that predispose it to infection and/or to the development of clinical symptomology.
Though the existence of genetic factors in the host that predispose it to the progression of an infection to tuberculous illness is now well established, the genetic factors in the host that predispose it to infection in the first place are still poorly understood.
Aurélie's research will identify a new pathway for innate antimycobacterial immunity that until now has received little attention from the scientific community. The characterization and understanding of this new mechanism of intrinsic protection against tuberculosis will open the way to new, highly innovative preventive and therapeutic measures for individuals who are not naturally resistant to Mtb infection.
Aurélie Cobat is a Doctor of Medicine at Université Paris Descartes, France and a Public Health Specialist. She holds a Doctor of Science in Statistical Genetics from Université Paris Sud, France. She is currently doing postdoctoral research at the McGill Centre for the Study of Host Resistance at McGill University, in Montreal.
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