Hyderabad: The Infosys Prize- 2019 winner Dr Manjula Reddy and her team of researchers at Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) have received the top recognition for their major breakthrough that has the potential to play a crucial role in the battle against Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR).
The findings of Dr Manjula’s research team, which were published in the prestigious Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), a US-based science journal this year, are being termed as novel and path breaking because the research team found enzymes that play a vital role in the synthesis of bacterial cell wall.
“The Infosys Prize continues to recognise exemplary work in scientific research and enquiry. Many Infosys Prize laureates have gone on to contribute significantly in key areas like healthcare, genetics, climate science, astronomy and poverty alleviation, amongst other things.
Their work has immediate implications for the human race and the planet. We hope it catalyses social development,” SD Shibulal, co-founder, Infosys Limited and president of the Infosys Science Foundation, said.
According to senior scientists from CCMB, Dr Manjula’s laboratory successfully identified the enzymes that carry out controlled cleavage of the cell walls. CCMB scientists said that her work has led to understanding the mechanism that regulates this fundamental step, which must happen before new cell wall is made.
“Many of the currently used antibiotics target the final step of cell wall synthesis and her work has opened up an avenue for targeting the initial steps of cell wall synthesis,” they said adding that the discovery was significant in the light of the rising threat of antimicrobial resistance.
It also has the potential to develop new class of antibiotics, apart from addressing the scourge of AMR, in which bacteria develops resistance to proven antibiotics. Often referred to as superbugs, these bacteria are hard to kill because of resistance to antibiotics. As a result, medicines become ineffective and infections continue to persist in the body.
Founder of Infosys and Trustee of Infosys Science Foundation, NR Narayana Murthy said that Infosys Prize- 2019 was aimed to help youngsters pursue fundamental research enthusiastically. “Youngsters must be encouraged and equipped to become contributors to solve huge problems that confront us every day. I want India to be a place where discovery and invention happen every month,” he said.