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Stealing from Dangerous Bacteria

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Oxford University Museum of Natural History

Parks Road

Oxford

OX1 3PW

United Kingdom

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Superglues, Gene Scissors and Designing Life

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The bacterium Streptococcus pyogenes is dangerous. It causes a range of diseases from sore throats to scarlet fever to an inflamed heart. Prof Mark Howarth and others have been studying the amazing tricks that this bacterium uses to colonise humans and hide from the immune system. Using this knowledge powerful new tools have been produced, including clot-busting drugs, superglue for building vaccines, and gene scissors towards curing genetic diseases.

In this talk Prof Howarth will describe the life of this dangerous bacterium and the process of re-engineering its secrets for biotechnology and medicine. He will then talk about how understanding bacteria allows them to be programmed, a field called synthetic biology, and where designer bacteria may be found in the future, from drug factories to our own gut.

Image Credit: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health

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Oxford University Museum of Natural History

Parks Road

Oxford

OX1 3PW

United Kingdom

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