January 11, 2017

WPI researcher receives $1.1 million to study stressed bacteria

Scarlet Shell (left) and postdoctoral researcher Carla Martini review a culture plate in the lab.

The National Science Foundation has awarded $1.1 million to a Worcester Polytechnic Institute professor for a five-year study of bacteria in stressful conditions, the school announced Wednesday.

Scarlet Shell, WPI assistant professor of biology and biotechnology, will study the molecular mechanisms bacteria use to survive stressful conditions like starvation and lack of oxygen.

With a better understanding of bacteria under stress, Shell's research could open new lines of advanced treatments for diseases like tuberculosis, which caused 1.4 million fatalities worldwide in 2015.

"Our focus is on the basic science, to fill a knowledge gap and create a foundation for future advances in the field," Shell said in WPI's announcement.


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