The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The intersection of Bizzell Street and College Avenue on Monday, Jan. 22, 2024.
Farmers fight Hurricane Beryl
Aggies across South Texas left reeling in wake of unexpectedly dangerous storm
J. M. Wise, News Reporter • July 20, 2024
Duke forward Cooper Flagg during a visit at a Duke game in Cameron Indoor Stadium. Flagg is one fo the top recruits in Dukes 2025 class. (Photo courtesy of Morgan Chu/The Chronicle)
From high school competition to the best in the world
Roman Arteaga, Sports Writer • July 24, 2024

Coming out of high school, Cooper Flagg has been deemed a surefire future NBA talent and has been compared to superstars such as Paul George...

Bob Rogers, holding a special edition of The Battalion.
Lyle Lovett, other past students remember Bob Rogers
Shalina Sabih July 15, 2024

In his various positions, Professor Emeritus Bob Rogers laid down the stepping stones that student journalists at Texas A&M walk today, carving...

The referees and starting lineups of the Brazilian and Mexican national teams walk onto Kyle Field before the MexTour match on Saturday, June 8, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
Opinion: Bring the USWNT to Kyle Field
Ian Curtis, Sports Reporter • July 24, 2024

As I wandered somewhere in between the Brazilian carnival dancers and luchador masks that surrounded Kyle Field in the hours before the June...

A&M research team receives $3.2 million grant to research disease disparity in soldiers

An+A%26amp%3BM+research+team+was+awarded+a+%243.2+million+grant+from+the+Defense+Department+in+order+to+combat+diseases+that+vary+in+severity+based+on+soldiers%26%238217%3B+genes.
Photo by Graphic by Rachel Grant

An A&M research team was awarded a $3.2 million grant from the Defense Department in order to combat diseases that vary in severity based on soldiers’ genes.

Soldiers are exposed to potentially harmful diseases on a daily basis. A disease that may cause no symptoms in one person may cause serious illness in another, and figuring out what causes this disparity may lead to new ways to combat potentially life-threatening ailments to deployed soldiers.
A research team at Texas A&M University was awarded a $3.2 million grant from the Department of Defense’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to explore this possibility. Co-led by David Threadgill and Helene Andrews-Polymenis, the team is making an effort to understand what makes some people tolerant to infectious agents while others are much more susceptible to infection.
David Threadgill is a distinguished professor at Texas A&M University in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Medicine and the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology. Threadgill said the goal of the project is geared toward figuring out what makes someone tolerant of infectious diseases.
“The outcome is to hopefully identify the genes that make someone tolerant,” Threadgill said. “The other aspect of the project involves developing therapeutic interventions or medicines that mimic these genetic pathways and make a non-tolerant individual pharmacologically tolerant.”
Tolerance means the individual is infected but does not develop classical characteristics of being sick. In order to show the role genetics plays in tolerance, a unique population of mice is being used, Threadgill said.
“This special population of mice has been engineered to have genetic diversity resembling a regular human population,” Threadgill said. “This mice population serves as a proxy for how the disease behaves in human populations. Using genetic analysis, we can identify what is making those individuals tolerant and protecting the organism.”
Helene Andrews-Polymenis, associate professor in the Department of Microbial Pathogenesis and Immunology and expert in infectious diseases, exposes the infections to the different clinical studies.
“My role in this project is to perform the infections and follow the development of the clinical disease in infected animals,” Andrews-Polymenis said. “Utilizing this special population of mice, we hope to see differences in susceptibility to infection based on each individual’s genetics.”
Andrews-Polymenis said she is optimistic for future implications of this research.
“Individuals exposed to some infectious agents, like Mycobacterium tuberculosis for example, have variable outcomes on a spectrum from no infection, to latent infection, to full blown tuberculosis,”Andrews-Polymenis said. “Studying the differences in the hosts that determine susceptibility is an exciting topic and may yield important advances in the future.”
Biomedical sciences senior Santiago Forero believes this research may have vital implications on preventative healthcare.
“Discovering the genetic factors that make us different and immune to some pathogens while others are not, is understanding how to work with nature rather than just blindly treating symptoms,” Forero said. “I think the world could greatly benefit from more genetic research like this investigating the causes, effects and relationships between pathogens and our human systems.”

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Battalion

Your donation will support the student journalists of Texas A&M University - College Station. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Battalion

Comments (0)

All The Battalion Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *