Champion for eliminating tuberculosis
The bacteria that cause tuberculosis are incredibly well-adapted to humans, yet researchers continue to unravel the mysteries of how the single-cell organisms work.
Patricia Champion, professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, has spent her career on the hunt, determined to understand the mechanisms used by Mycobacterium tuberculosis to cause disease — the leading microbial killer on the planet behind SARS-CoV-2, the virus that is responsible for COVID-19.
“When I was finishing up my graduate work there had just been a major discovery about the bacteria that cause tuberculosis, about a new transport system that moves proteins from the inside to the outside of the tuberculosis cell,” she said. “This was cool because this component was missing in vaccines used against tuberculosis.”
Champion, who has worked at Notre Dame since 2009 after earning her doctoral degree in microbiology from Princeton and completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California San Francisco, always loved science. As a child in New Jersey, she had rich experiences exploring Manhattan, attending Broadway shows, and exploring the Jersey Shore. Torn between studying English and science, and with a love for art, singing and piano, Champion’s talents could have led her in many directions.
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