press release
Published: 29 November 2016

Dr Rachel Simmonds receives prestigious Wellcome Trust Investigator Award

By Peter La

The University of Surrey is delighted to announce that Dr Rachel Simmonds, Lecturer in Immunopathogenesis from the School of Biosciences and Medicine, has received a highly prestigious Investigator Award in Science from the Wellcome Trust for her research on the neglected tropical disease, Buruli ulcer.

Drug-producing bacteria editorial image

Dr Simmonds’ group studies the ‘flesh-eating’ bacteria that causes Buruli ulcer called Mycobacterium ulcerans, particularly a toxic chemical by-product called mycolactone. She has made important breakthroughs in the fight against the disease by discovering mycolactone's mechanism of action, as well as a link to blood clotting that might be a important driver of disease progression. 

The Investigator Award will specifically focus on how infection with the microbe changes the blood clotting process, using approaches that include working directly with patients in Africa. As a result the project seeks to underpin advances in prevention and treatment, thereby reducing the levels of deformity that result from infection.

President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Max Lu, said: “My warmest congratulations to Rachel on this wonderful achievement. This is a highly prestigious award which demonstrates the real world impact of our research towards developing healthcare innovations and making potentially life-changing improvements for Buruli ulcer patients.”

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