Aug 27, 2020
Professor Graham Hatfull studies bacteriophages in the human body; these are viruses that infect bacteria. Interested in both "the exploration and exploitation of these" bacteriophages infecting bacteria, he explains
Graham Hatfull is the Eberly
Family Professor of Biotechnology in the Department of Biological
Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh and an HHMI Professor. He
tells listeners about the basics and the complexities of phages and
potential therapies that might utilize them.
He explains that his lab has focused mainly on the mycobacterium group because it contains important human pathogens like Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which is responsible for the symptoms and spread of tuberculosis. Tuberculosis causes around 1.7 billion deaths a year.
Studying the phages that infect
this group of mycobacterium helps understand such pathogens as well
as potential treatments. In order to study these phages, his lab
uses bacterium related to these more dangerous bacteria as safer
surrogates. This work puts us them a good position to figure out
which phages infect TB and which ones don't. He also describes
phage biology and coevolution with bacteria, which has led to a
For example, he discusses phages that are "temperate," and what that means in relationship to bacteria development. Finally, he talks about a successful case study in which they were able to use a cocktail of phages to successfully kill a particular strain of Mycobacterium abscessus in a Cystic Fibrosis patient.
For more, see his lab's website
Available on Apple Podcasts: apple.co/2Os0myK