|Strep bacteria can cause more than just a sore throat – severe infections can lead to multi-organ failure, flesh-eating disease and other fatal conditions.
That is why a University of Houston graduate student is using cutting-edge technology to study the complex DNA sequencing of strep bacteria, potentially ground-breaking research that could lead to earlier detection and better treatment of strep infections.
Chen Feng, a Ph.D. student in computer science, was awarded a prestigious research fellowship in May from the W.M. Keck Center for Interdisciplinary Bioscience Training, a consortium of six Texas medical schools and universities that includes UH.
Working with Houston’s Methodist Hospital, Feng is using the latest in high-powered computing to analyze the DNA sequencing of the more than 300 strains of strep bacteria, giving doctors new insights into why some strep infections are deadlier than others.
Technology has only recently allowed researchers to do such detailed analysis of so many strains of the same organism, Feng said, and this work could become model for studying other types of diseases.