Dr. Ann-Marie Krachler
Dr. Ann-Marie Krachler

A new faculty member recruited to the Department of the Microbiology and Molecular Genetics has been recognized as a Rising STAR by The University of Texas System.

Ann-Marie Krachler, Ph.D., whose discovery of a family of adhesins has provided novel targets for new therapeutics to treat drug-resistant infections, is joining McGovern Medical School Sept. 1. As part of her recruitment to McGovern Medical School she is being awarded a Rising STARS Award from the UT System.

The UT System Board of Regents created the Faculty Science and Technology Acquisition and Retention (STARs) Program in 2004 to help UT institutions attract and retain the best-qualified faculty. Awards, which can be used to purchase equipment and renovate facilities, require institutional support and are available to support the recruitment of tenure track faculty members at any rank.

Krachler comes to McGovern Medical School from the University of Birmingham, United Kingdom, where she is an independent research fellow at the Institute of Microbiology and Infection. She has published prolifically over the past few years and is the recipient of the Early Career Researcher Award from the Biochemical Society.

“Dr. Krachler’s research areas complement and expand the host-pathogen signaling emphasis of the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics,” said Theresa Koehler, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. “There are clear possibilities for collaborative efforts with MMG faculty. In addition, her work on emergence of drug-resistant subpopulations during infection and membrane fusion studies will complement the work of faculty in the Division of Infectious Diseases and the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.”

Krachler received her Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of York and earned her B.Sc. and M.Sc. in chemical engineering from Vienna University of Technology, Austria. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at UT Southwestern, where she made a seminal discovery of a multivalent gram-negative outer membrane protein, “MAM 7,” that mediates contact between the pathogen and host cells via protein-lipid interactions. In contrast to most other bacterial adhesins, MAMs are found in many different bacterial species and are constitutively expressed. As such, they are key surface components promoting the initial attachment of pathogens to host organisms.

“McGovern Medical School is grateful for the investment by UT System in such collaborative and innovative recruits for the enrichment of our scientific community,” Dean Barbara J. Stoll said.

UT System STAR Award funds will purchase a high-end epiflouroescence microscope to allow high resolution live imaging of zebra fish, which Krachler uses in her current lab on a daily basis.

“One of the greatest health challenges the world faces is the emergence of pathogenic bacteria resistant to current antibiotics,” said Dr. George Stancel, executive vice president for academic and research affairs and holder of the Roger J. Bulger, M.D. Distinguished Professorship.  “Dr. Krachler’s own research and collaborative work with other investigators will enhance UTHealth’s ability to develop new medications and approaches to treat these dangerous, life-threatening infections and make our institution an international leader in this effort.”