About the MRL

The Mycobacteria Research Laboratories was founded some 25 years ago by Dr. Patrick J. Brennan and colleagues with the intent of generating an internationally recognized center of excellence for the study of mycobacterial diseases and pathogens. Since then, the MRL has been at the forefront of mycobacterial fundamental and translational research. Research programs in the MRL utilize state-of-the-art techniques and facilities to address

  • tuberculosis vaccine and drug development,
  • leprosy and tuberculosis diagnostics,
  • the study of nontuberculous mycobacterial diseases and Buruli ulcer,
  • and the epidemiology and diagnostics of mycobacterial diseases affecting animals including bovine tuberculosis and Johne’s disease.

More about the MRL

MRL Researchers – Discovery


MRL researchers have discovered that the pathogen, Mycobacterium leprae, can live for months inside protective host amoebae that are common in water, soil and plants – then can be easily transferred to trigger infection. Read more.



Stop TB – In My Lifetime


On March 24th, dozens of northern Colorado high-school students gained an inside look at an infectious disease that kills an estimated 1.5 million people each year – and the urgent scientific quest to halt it.  To read more about the event, read the article “World TB Day piques interest in fighting tuberculosis and other infectious diseases”

The lab-level view of tuberculosis comes courtesy of the world’s largest group of university researchers investigating TB: a Colorado State University brain trust of about 170 experts in all aspects of the disease. To learn more, read the article “Tuberculosis: Global killer with Colorado connection”

Outstanding Work


Crystal Shanley, a Research Associate in Dr. Ian Orme’s lab, has been recognized for her outstanding achievement in the care of research and teaching animals. Crystal was awarded the Technician of the Year for 2014. Crystal was instrumental in training an international Gates Foundation TB staff team in Witbank on the needed techniques for guinea pig vaccinations. Her stress-free procedure has been adopted by other laboratories in the TB field.



Zoonotic TB Research

Colorado State University

Dr. Francisco Olea-Popelka, aveterinary epidemiologist with the MRL, is the chairman of The Union’s Zoonotic TB Sub-Section. The sub-section monitors the transmission of tuberculosis between animals and people, especially in underserved communities in developing countries. To learn more, read the article in the Union E-News.





Diagnostic Breath Test for TB Research

Tuberculosis Research at Colorado State UniversityTuberculosis researchers at Colorado State University have landed a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to develop a diagnostic breath test with potential to revolutionize TB testing and to better control the globally devastating infectious disease.  To learn more, read the article “Gates Foundation funds a new CSU breath test with promise for diagnosing tuberculosis”.






Leprosy Research in Brazil

Leprosy has become prevalent in rural areas of Brazil such as Breves, Brazil.  Watch the videos below to see how Colorado State University and MRL are directly helping Brazil with the combat against leprosy.

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