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Mayo researcher contributes to Technologies for Host Resilience (THoR)

Hu Li, Ph.D. (MPET ’13), is leading a Mayo team analyzing genomic information collected by the Technologies for Host Resilience (THoR) project. THoR aims to discover therapeutic responses to emerging infections and antibiotic resistance.

THoR’s approach is to determine what genes or regulatory networks affect immune responses to threats such as Ebola, influenza or antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The project will test hundreds of diseases in different host species using technology and analysis to compare characteristics of tolerance between hosts. Other collaborators on the THoR project include Harvard University, Temple University, Tufts University and Boston Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Li’s group is at the forefront of precision medicine — using an individual patient’s genome to deliver better, safer, more tailored health care. The Mayo team will incorporate systems biology approaches and advanced network tools to identify driver genes important for tolerance — the immune response that helps patients cope with the damage caused by pathogens or by a patient’s immune response.

“Our long-term goal is to develop therapeutics to boost and manipulate the activities of these drivers to help patients mitigate harmful or even fatal consequences from pathogen infections,” says Dr. Li, Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics at Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

THoR is funded through the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in response to biological threats, especially drug-resistant pathogens.



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