University of Dundee

Sir Robin MacLellan Award for Helge Dorfmueller

07 Jun 2017

Dr Helge Dorfmueller, from the Division of Molecular Microbiology, has won an award recognising the best research project funded by Tenovus Scotland.

He has received the Sir Robin MacLellan Travel Award for his study 'Towards the discovery of chemical tools to prevent human infection caused by pathogenic Streptococcus pyogenes'. Dr Dorfmueller has been awarded £3000 towards the cost of travelling to a conference or symposium to enable the dissemination of Tenovus Scotland-funded research.

Streptococcus pyogenes is a human-exclusive pathogenic bacterium that causes a range of infections, ranging from mild infections such as tonsillitis (strep-throat) to severe flesh-eating diseases, which cause more than 500,000 deaths worldwide each year. Emerging antibiotic resistance means it is imperative that scientists identify new bacterial drug targets.

Aided by funding from Tenovus Scotland, Dr Dorfmueller’s laboratory has identified small chemical compounds that bind to selected drug targets of Streptococcus pyogenes. Recent experiments have shown that several identified compounds prevent growth of this pathogenic bacterium in a laboratory setup.

Dr Dorfmueller said, "This award provides the exciting opportunity to present our research, funded by Tenovus Scotland, at international conferences, such as the 2018 FASEB Microbial Glycobiology conference. This type of bi-yearly meeting provides an excellent platform to present and discuss data and research ideas with world-renowned experts in glycobiology with interests in basic and applied research in microbial sugars. In the past, these meetings have stimulated new research ideas and helped to established novel collaborations with junior and senior research leaders.”

Tenovus Scotland was established in 1967 to help the development of early-career researchers. The charity raises funds in Scotland to support early stage medical research and young researchers across all fields of medical science and in institutions across Scotland.