News Release Library
October 21, 2011

2011 Brother Lucian Blersch Symposium — Tuberculosis: Global Health & Infectious Diseases

Every year, there are three million new infections of tuberculosis. While TB is treatable, it is the leading cause of death worldwide as a result of a bacterial pathogen. In fact, TB as a result of infection by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) takes the lives of two million people per year. While there has been much success in the past couple of decades in controlling the disease, the progress is being threatened by multidrug-resistant and extensively drug-resistant strands. These strands are much more difficult to diagnose, treat and cure than Mtb. This year’s Lucian Symposium “Tuberculosis: Global Health & Infectious Diseases” will examine the different components to this global epidemic. The event will take place 12:30 to 3 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 21 in Jones Auditorium, Robert and Pearle Ragsdale Center.

Event Schedule:

  • 12:30 p.m.  Welcome
  • 12:40 p.m.  Eamonn F. Healy: “A role for Heat Shock Proteins in the formation of the tuberculous granuloma”
  • 1 p.m.  Khisimuzi Mdluli: “Developing novel drug combinations for TB – Treatment shortening and combating resistant disease”
  • 2 p.m.  Clifton E. Barry III: “Extensively Drug Resistant Tuberculosis: not your grandfather’s disease”

This year’s presenters include:

Dr. Clifton E. Barry III, PhD, a senior investigator in the Laboratory of Clinical Infectious Diseases as well as chief of the Tuberculosis Research Section at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in Bethesda, Md. Dr. Barry has also successfully developed a clinical research program in South Korea were he has on-going trials with over 800 participants. His group has also contributed to the development of PA-824, a new drug now in Phase II clinical trials, and developed SQ109, now in Phase Ib trials.

Dr. Khisimuzi Mdluli, PhD, is a senior project leader of biology at the TB Alliance, responsible for evaluating discovery projects for inclusion in the TB Alliance portfolio, and overseeing current drug discovery projects. A native of Swaziland, Dr. Mdluli is a highly regarded expert in the microbiology, molecular biology and biochemistry of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. A three-year Visiting Fellowship at NIAID resulted in a number of seminal publications by Dr. Mdluli in 1998 that describe the mechanism of action and a potential target of isoniazid, a cornerstone drug in the fight against TB. Established in 2000 to address an urgent health need, the TB Alliance has as its mission the discovery and development of improved TB treatments. Today, the organization and its partners manage the most robust portfolio of new TB drug candidates ever assembled.

Dr. Eamonn F. Healy, PhD, is the Brother Lucian Blersch Professor of Science and professor of chemistry at St. Edward’s University. He is currently researching the design of structure- activity probes to elucidate enzymatic activity. The interdisciplinary approach includes molecular modeling for the simulation of inhibitor binding, overexpression of the target proteins and in vitro assays of enzymatic activity and inhibition. Targets include HIV-1 integrase, the c-Kit and src-abl proteins, and the metalloproteinases associated with CXCL16 shedding.

Organized by the School of Natural Sciences at St. Edward’s University, the event is free and open to the public. This symposium honors Brother Lucian Blersch, CSC, a longtime professor of Engineering at St. Edward's University who died in 1986 and in whose name a professorship in the school of Natural Sciences was endowed by a gift from J.B.N. Morris hs ’48, ’52, and his family. 

More information about the Brother Lucian Blersch Symposium.