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Bacteria expert Hultgren to deliver Discovery Lecture

Feb. 28, 2013, 9:16 AM

Scott Hultgren, Ph.D., an expert on the interactions between bacteria and human hosts, will deliver the next Flexner Discovery Lecture on Thursday, March 7.

His talk, “Molecular Blueprint of Uropathogenic E. coli Pathogenesis and Targeted Therapies,” will begin at 4 p.m. in 208 Light Hall.

Scott Hultgren, Ph.D.

Hultgren is the Helen L. Stoever Professor of Molecular Microbiology at Washington University in St. Louis, where he also serves as the inaugural director of the Center for Women’s Infectious Disease Research.

The Hultgren laboratory focuses on understanding urinary tract infections (UTIs), with the goal of developing improved treatments. The group discovered how uropathogenic E. coli — the bacterial pathogen that causes most UTIs — uses adhesive fibers called “pili” to invade bladder cells and establish biofilm-like bacterial communities. The biofilm protects the bacteria from host defenses and antibiotics, and sets up reservoirs of bacteria that can seed recurrent infections.

The team’s work is inspiring novel technologies, vaccine strategies and anti-microbial therapeutics to diagnose, prevent and treat UTIs.

Hultgren earned his Ph.D. at Northwestern University and completed postdoctoral training at Umeå University in Sweden. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2011 and is also a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. His honors include a Distinguished Investigator Award from Washington University and the 1998 Eli Lilly Award — the most prestigious prize in microbiology for investigators younger than 40.

The Vanderbilt Institute of Chemical Biology is sponsoring Hultgren’s lecture. For a complete schedule of the Flexner Discovery Lecture series and archived video of previous lectures, go to http://www.mc.vanderbilt.edu/discoveryseries.

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