The National Institutes of Health, the primary agency of the U.S. government responsible for biomedical and health-related research, has awarded Steve Julio, Westmont associate professor of biology, and his collaborators at the University of North Carolina a $1.6 million grant over five years. The grant will be used to explore a bacterial regulatory control system that was discovered at Westmont several years ago. Julio and his collaborators will be trying to decipher how the regulatory system controls bacterial virulence, with the practical goal of identifying new therapeutic targets for whooping cough.
In February, Julio and Westmont alumnus Aaron Wilk ’16 co-authored an article, “The Bordetella PlrSR Two-Component System Controls BvgAS Activity and Virulence in the Lower Respiratory Tract,” which was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Julio, who has been teaching at Westmont since 2006, graduated from Westmont in 1992 and earned his doctorate at UC Santa Barbara in 2001. He was a research scientist for several years at Remedyne Corporation, a vaccine development company in Santa Barbara. He has had his work published by Infection and Immunity, Journal of Bacteriology, and Molecular and General Genetics.