K-RITH postdoctoral fellow Dirk Lamprecht and PhD student James Mazorodze both won Biophysical Journal Poster Awards at the recent Biophysics in the Understanding, Diagnosis and Treatment of Infectious Diseases meeting.

The international multidisciplinary conference, held in Stellenbosch in November, explored the contributions of biophysics to our understanding of infectious diseases.

Lamprecht won in the best postdoctoral poster category, while Mazorodze claimed honours for best student poster at the conference. Both are members of K-RITH’s Steyn Lab.

Mazorodze’s poster, titled ‘Directing Warburg: Mycobacterium tuberculosis redirects host energy metabolism in the TB lung’, highlighted the metabolic changes that occur in the host upon infection by Mtb.

Lamprecht’s work, titled ‘Bedaquiline, Q203, and Clofazimine: Novel insights into effects on M. tuberculosis respiration’ showed how he was able to systematically shut down M. tuberculosis energy metabolism, basically suffocating the bacteria, and achieve rapid killing of Mtb both in culture and inside mammalian cells.

Along with a $250 prize, their work will get featured in the Biophysical Journal.

“The fact that they got these awards means that what they are doing is important – in the global scheme of TB science,” says K-RITH Investigator Adrie Steyn.

“It was a multidisciplinary conference, with cryo-electron microscopy and crystallography, and all put together I think it was a powerful statement that what these guys are doing is relevant.”