Dr. James K. Stoops
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
- Structure-function studies of macro molecules of biological interest
Research activities involve the structural organization and function of macromolecules, such as the fatty acid synthase, pyruvate dehydrogenase complex, human alpha-2-macroglobulin, ornithine decarboxylase, and CAM-kinase. The multifaceted approaches described below and the diversity of topics under investigation offer the student a well-rounded background in structural biology.
Presently studies of M. tuberculosis (mTB) by light and electron microscopy show that the bacteria are condensed in amorphous structures of enormous size surrounded by a wax-like, hard lipid coat named trehalose dimycolate (TDM) which very effectively shield the bacteria from the immune system and antibiotics. This armor is its Achilles' heel. Accordingly, we propose a direct, rapid and localized approach to treat pulmonary TB in which the bacteria are stripped of their shield by direct exposure to surfactants introduced into the lungs. In this regard, surfactants have been established since the early 60's as an efficient method of disrupting cellular membranes. Our light and electron microscopy studies of mTB support our contention that certain surfactants offer a novel, fast acting, and targeted treatment modality that is well suited for breaching the bacteria's armor and exposing them to antibiotics and the immune response for an uncharacteristic rapid clearance of the disease. Ex-vivo studies of human lungs infected with mTB and treated with surfactants support our effort our indicate the utility of this approach.
Program in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Office: MSB 2.216
Ph.D. - Northwestern University - 1966