MRSA: RIP?

A Tufts biologist devises a strategy she says can save the tens of thousands of people infected each year with the deadly "superbug"

Andrea Gawrylewski
Dec 10, 2007

It's just before noon in a narrow lab at Tufts School of Veterinary Medicine in North Grafton, Mass., and Naomi Balaban and her postdoc Kiran Madanahally have just opened a package they've waited two months for. The package, from a genomics company in Iceland, is the microarray analysis of a knockout Bacillus cereus bacterium deficient in one protein in a signaling pathway that produces enterotoxins. "These results are fantastic," says Madanahally, staring at the computer screen in front of him.

"Really?" Balaban says as she quickly strides to where Madanahally sits. Balaban's eyes light up as her smile widens. The screen shows a graph containing a cluster of rainbow-colored dots along a regression line, with several dots slung at the bottom right of the screen, to which Madanahally is pointing. "Those are the toxins," he says. Balaban grips his shoulder in excitement: "That's amazing." The dots represent genes expressed in...

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