Rutgers-Camden professor looks for ways to battle tuberculosis bacteria

A Rutgers-Camden professor will use $36,589 from a Lockheed Martin contract administered by the National Institutes of Health for his work to help discover new methods of fighting tuberculosis.

Desmond Lun, an associate professor of computer science, said he’ll put his computer science expertise to good use with the program developed by Lockheed.

“We’re going to use a computer simulation of the organism to find new ways that people haven’t thought of before, for disrupting and, of course, killing the organism,” he said. “It’s faster than doing any physical testing on the organism and certainly faster than doing any physical tests on a human.”

Tests then can be run outside the computer simulation.

“Biology is becoming more of a predictive science — a science where we can use a computer to predict how biological systems will behave before we actually do things to them,” he said.

Lun said people often think of tuberculosis as being a Third World disease.

“But this emergence of drug-resistance in tuberculosis makes it very relevant to every country all around the world,” he said.

Lun said he hopes his work on the tuberculosis bacteria could lead to discoveries about new ways to fight other diseases.

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