Congratulations to Dr Phil Elks on the award of a Sir Henry Dale Fellowship

Dr Phil Elks has been awarded a Sir Henry Dale Fellowship from the Wellcome Trust/Royal Society, entitled 'Manipulation of host hypoxia signalling as a therapeutic strategy for mycobacterial infection.'

Tuberculosis was historically a major cause of death until the discovery of antibiotics in the mid-twentieth century. However, therapeutic strategies that target pathogens are failing due to drug resistance and TB has re-emerged as a leading cause of global mortality with 1.3 million deaths yearly (WHO, 2012).

Pharmaceutical reprogramming of the immune system to enhance killing of intracellular pathogens, such as TB, would represent a therapeutic strategy that would be effective against drug resistant strains. In this fellowship, Phil will use a zebrafish TB model to understand the regulation and activity of HIF (hypoxia inducible factor) in white blood cells during pathogenesis. HIF is a potentially exciting pharmaceutical target as it activates many aspects of white blood cell biology, including bacterial killing capabilities. Phil will use the genetic and imaging advantages of the zebrafish to determine the roles of HIF variants in different white blood cell types and will begin to translate these findings into potential treatments for TB.

This work will be supported by a Sir Henry Dale Fellowship (Wellcome Trust/Royal Society) for a duration of 5 years.