How bugs stick to our stomachs

James Whisstock and his Monash University colleagues have uncovered how the bacterium Helicobacter pylori sticks to the stomach lining, where it can cause ulcers and sometimes cancer.

Photo: James Whisstock. Credit: MNHS Multimedia Services, Monash University

The role of Helicobacter in causing gastric ulcers was originally discovered by Australian Nobel Laureates Barry Marshall and Robin Warren.

The recent work by James and his team was performed using the Australian Synchrotron and showed how the Helicobacter pylori protein SabA interacts with sugars present on the cells that line the stomach.

James received the Science Minister’s Prize for Life Scientist of the Year in 2006 and has just been awarded a $28 million grant to build the ARC Centre of Excellence in Advanced Molecular Imaging, which will develop new approaches for understanding the workings of the immune system.

Photo: James Whisstock
Credit: MNHS Multimedia Services, Monash University