American City Business Journals Inc. reports that an associate professor of biology at Reed College in Portland has received a $227,500 grant from the National Institute of Health to continue research on E. coli bacteria.
Prof. Jay Mellies has studied the E. coli strain known as Enteropathogenic Escheriachia coli, responsible for an estimated 1 million infant diarrheal deaths in the developing world each year.
Mellies’ research team will continue studying how the master regulator protein LER controls the disease process on the molecular level. The long-term goal of the laboratory is to use this knowledge to develop effective therapeutics for the treatment of this and related infections.
In the United States, EHEC, a pathogen related to EPEC, is of particular concern in food safety and public health because it causes many outbreaks of bloody diarrhea due to contaminated meat products, produce and water.
Over the past three years, Mellies has received other significant funding for his research, including $230,323 from the Defense Advanced Research Program Agency in 2003, a seed grant from the Medical Research Foundation of Oregon and a grant of $143,667, also from the NIH in 2001.