World-Renowned Expert in Tuberculosis Research Given Colorado State University’s Top Annual Research Award

Ian Orme, Colorado State University professor of microbiology, immunology and pathology and a world-leading expert in tuberculosis research, today received the 2004 Scholarship Impact Award, one of the university’s highest awards and its top annual honor for accomplishment in research. The award, given by Colorado State’s Office of the Vice President for Research and Information Technology, recognizes one top faculty member whose scholarship has had major national and international impact.

The award was presented today at the all-university Celebrate Colorado State! awards luncheon. The Scholarship Impact Award includes $10,000 to support Orme’s research.  

"Dr. Orme’s vital research continues to have significant impacts at Colorado State and throughout the world. We are proud to present him with the 2004 Scholarship Impact Award," said Anthony Frank, vice president for Research and Information Technology. "To say that Ian is a key member of our university would be a great understatement. Colorado State is fortunate to have such an intelligent, dedicated individual on our faculty, and millions of people throughout the world are fortunate that Dr. Orme is putting his impressive talents toward controlling, delaying and even preventing the development of TB."

Orme, previous director of the Infectious Disease Program and the Mycobacteria Research Laboratories at Colorado State, is known internationally for his TB research and has made major contributions to understanding the mechanisms at work in immunity to tuberculosis.

His research has greatly advanced the area of tuberculosis immunology and is actively involved in the development of a tuberculosis vaccine and anti-tuberculosis drugs.  

Orme’s TB-related work has generated more than $50 million in research support at Colorado State and led to several breakthroughs in the field. Orme has additionally published more than 200 papers in leading medical and science journals that have been cited over 6,400 times.  

Orme has been instrumental in helping to create the largest research effort of its kind in the world devoted to understanding, treating and perhaps even eliminating diseases caused by the family of bacteria known as mycobacteria.

Among many other accomplishments, in recent years Orme has developed various models for the study of TB that are now widely used in vaccine and drug screening, work for which he was appointed a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiologists in 2002. In addition to TB vaccine development, Orme also heads a research team working on a separate seven-year, $3.4 million National Institutes of Health contract to screen the most promising TB treatment drugs.

Last year, Orme and colleagues were awarded a five-year, $3 million NIH grant to conduct a pioneering study to examine the long-term effectiveness and safety of tuberculosis vaccines – to determine if the most promising new vaccines can remain effective over the long term and if specific vaccines could actually be damaging to the lungs over time. Orme and his team also have led groundbreaking studies examining broad-spectrum antibiotics to discover a drug that is effective in fighting latent tuberculosis without creating drug resistance.  

Orme joined Colorado State University in 1986, following the receipt of his doctorate from the University of London and a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Trudeau Institute.

Tuberculosis is the leading bacterial killer in the world, causing 10 million new cases and three million deaths each year. It is resurgent in developing countries and, in America, in prison populations, among the homeless and in HIV/AIDS-infected patients. A factor in its return, and one of particular concern to Orme, is that some strains are resistant to several anti-TB drugs.

The Mycobacteria Research Laboratories, which are unique given the amount of expertise focusing on one problem, are part of the Infectious Diseases Program at Colorado State, a Program of Research and Scholarly Excellence.