In recent years, there has been an emergence of new strains of viruses, pathogenic bacteria and fungi, and protozoan parasites that threaten global health. Baylor College of Medicine has an exceptionally strong group of faculty who study medically important microbial pathogens. IM students have exciting opportunities to apply cutting-edge structural analysis techniques such as cryo-electron microscopy and tomography, X-ray crystallography, and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy together with other biophysical techniques to define the 3D structures of macromolecules and how they interact with substrates and host proteins. Determining the structure-function relationship directs various aspects of microbial pathogenesis including how pathogens interact with the host cell, how they colonize, how they replicate and how they subvert the immune response. Furthermore, mechanistic understanding derived from structural work also forms a rational basis for developing new drugs and vaccines to prevent and treat diseases caused by microbial pathogens.
Baylor College of Medicine resources that support this research include the Protein Crystallography, cryo-EM and NMR & drug metabolism cores as well as resources available at the National School of Tropical Medicine and the Center for Drug Discovery.