For her work on understanding the structure and synthesis of the bacterial cell wall which is critical for the development of new antibiotics, Dr Manjula Reddy, the Chief Scientist of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) has been awarded the 2019 Infosys Prize for Life Sciences. Her work has revealed a critical step during cell wall synthesis.
"For a long time, scientists believed that the existing cell wall needs to be broken in a controlled manner to allow new cell wall to be built. But the existence of machinery that makes this possible has remained elusive, even though bacteria have been studied for over a hundred years," said a press release.
"Dr Reddy's laboratory became the first one to identify the enzymes that carry out controlled cleavage of the cell walls. Dr Reddy's work has also led to understanding the mechanisms that regulate this fundamental step, which must happen before the new cell wall is made. Many of the currently used antibiotics target the final step of cell wall synthesis," it read.
The Infosys Prize is awarded annually to honour outstanding achievements of contemporary researchers and scientists across six categories: Engineering and Computer Sciences, Humanities, Life Sciences, Mathematical Sciences, Physical Sciences and Social Sciences, each carrying a prize of a gold medal, a citation and a cash prize of USD 1,00,000.
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