Barry J. Marshall

University of Western Australia


Election Year: 2008
Primary Section: 44, Microbial Biology
Membership Type: Foreign Associate

Research Interests

My research is spread from clinical to basic aspects of the ulcer causing stomach bacterium Helicobacter pylori. This organism still infects about half the world's population in a process that is mildly pathogenic. In people with gastric diseases such as peptic ulcer, the bacterium is still quite difficult to eradicate because 10% of organisms develop antibiotic resistance. Therefore there is continuous refinement needed for antibiotic treatments. In the basic and immunology area, I believe the Helicobacter controls the immune system of the gastric mucosa so that, in most persons, the inflammation is not sufficient to cause ulcers, but neither is it able to eradicate the bacterium. Thus infection is life-long. Therefore, Helicobacter might be a useful platform for delivering vaccines in a safe and cost effective manner, as a "super probiotic"; a live genetically modified agent which immunizes through the gastric wall. I have started a biotech company called Ondek which is building an orally administered flu vaccine.

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