von Itzstein Laboratory
Mark von Itzstein
Position: Director of the Institute of Glycomics, Griffith University
Research Interests
Malaria: Invasion and adhesion pathways that use carbohydrate receptors
Virology: Rotavirus
Mammalian Biology: Diabetes
Lab Blogs:
External Sites:
Glycobiology Applied to Infectious Diseases
Fighting malaria~
Fighting bacteria
The Institute for Glycomics' research into the important role of carbohydrates in diseases caused by bacteria represents new and exciting opportunities for the discovery of next generation antibiotics and potentially vaccines.
A critical situation is developing in the world today. Many of the pathogenic microbes that cause some of the world's most devastating diseases are rapidly developing resistance to antibiotics. For example with the re-emergence of diseases such as drug resistant tuberculosis and 'golden staph' (multi-drug resistant Staphylococcus aureus ), a frightening situation is emerging. Now the situation is becoming dire as these life threatening bacteria find their way into the general community making the need for the development of new strategies to combat these disease-causing microorganisms an absolute priority.
The Institute's Bacterial Glycomics research program is working towards the design and synthesis of 'plug drugs' that will be the 'next generation' antibiotics and vaccines to combat these diseases.
Fighting viruses
The Institute for Glycomics' research into the role of carbohydrates in virus-caused diseases offer new and exciting opportunities for drug discovery based on these carbohydrate-related processes.
Diseases caused by viruses have been a plague on humanity for time immemorial. Unfortunately drugs that combat viruses are extremely limited in number and are not broad spectrum. The emergence of new viruses or known viruses that are very aggressive and cause significant disease in man has heightened the need for new strategies to treat these virus-caused diseases.
Examples of viruses that utilise carbohydrates include Influenza virus, the causative pathogen of 'Flu'; parainfluenza, the causative pathogen of 'Croup' in children, Rotavirus, the causative pathogen of severe diarrhoea in children; and Dengue virus, a chronic illness of the sub-tropical and tropical contents.
The Institute's research into these viruses, seeks to understand how these carbohydrates are utilised in viral infections so that scientists may identify targets for the development of new drugs that will treat and cure these diseases.