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
  • The epidemiology and diagnostics of mycobacterial diseases affecting animals including bovine tuberculosis and Johne’s disease

More about the MRL

News & Events

Tell Me More: A Conversation about Research at CSU with Dr. Marcela Henao-Tamayo

The first installation of the Tell Me More series by CSU President Joyce McConnell discusses research with MRL assistant professor and Flow Cytometry Facility director Marcela Henao-Tamayo. In addition to her ongoing tuberculosis research, she is also part of an interdisciplinary team working on a vaccine candidate to fight SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Many MRL Faculty Collaborate on Preventative COVID-19 Measures

Across campus, infectious disease researchers have formed interdisciplinary teams for a host of research projects addressing the coronavirus pandemic. Read more…

‘We have to try it’: Tuberculosis expert explores coronavirus vaccine research

Long time TB researcher and MIP professor Mary Jackson is now leading research to investigate if using parts of the SARS-CoV-2 proteins to modify the tuberculosis BCG vaccine can stimulate antibody production against COVID-19. Read More…

MRL produces Hand Sanitizer for CSU

As COVID-19 changed plans for the annual World TB Day activities at Colorado State University on March 24th, the MRL decided to help the campus community by producing hand sanitizer using a WHO-approved recipe of ethanol, glycerol and hydrogen peroxide. Demand quickly outpaced MRL volunteer production within the Karen Dobos lab, as the effort became CSU funded & coordinated. Read More…

CSU lands $1.2 million in NIH funding to advance work on a new tuberculosis vaccine

A team of researchers in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology at Colorado State University aim to advance what is known about the complex immune response necessary to prevent tuberculosis disease. Read more…

anara Flores, Senior Microbiology major, helps high school students learn to use a test for Tuberculosis at Colorado State University's Research Innovation Center on World TB Day, March 25, 2019

2019 World TB Day inspires students

The Colorado State University’s annual celebration of World Tuberculosis Day opens the CSU Mycobacteria Research Laboratories to high-school students for a personal look at how the largest contingent of TB researchers in the country work. Read more…

In Memory – Dr. Ian Orme

Dr. Ian Orme, University Distinguished Professor, passed away on June 19, 2018. Read his obituary. His arrival to CSU in 1986 helped establish the formal founding of the Mycobacteria Research Laboratories (MRL) and leaves a legacy of successful researchers in the MRL and science community. Read more…

In Memoriam Dr. Ian M. Orme (1652-2018), published in Tuberculosis, by Dr. Patrick Brennan, University Distinguished Professor, Colorado State University

New evidence that wild armadillos spread leprosy to humans

An international team led by researchers at Colorado State University has found that human contact with wild armadillos — including eating the meat — has contributed to extremely high infection rates of a pathogen that can cause leprosy in Pará, Brazil. Read more…

2018 World TB Day with the MRL

Colorado high school students get close-up look at tuberculosis research & hear from survivors at annual World TB Day events hosted by the MRL. Read more…

Fluorescent confocal images of amoebae after experimental co-culture with Yersinia pestis.

Amoebas & Infectious Diseases

MRL director, Mary Jackson, is leading an interdisciplinary One Health Initiative team to study the interaction of amoebas with various infectious diseases, including bovine tuberculosis and meliodosis. As part of this team, graduate student and CSU Vice President for Research Fellow, David Markman, published the insightful results on the hosting of Yersinia pestis (plague bacteria) in amoebae in Emerging Infectious Diseases, garnering him national recognition. Read More…

Brendan Podell awarded 2017 Zoetis Research Excellence Award

Mycobacteria Research Laboratories member, Brendan Podell, was awarded Colorado State University’s 2017 Zoetis Research Excellence Award for his ongoing research on  comorbidity of tuberculosis and diabetes. Along with this recognition, he gave the keynote address at CSU College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences’ 2018 Research Day to inspire the next generation of research excellence.  Read more…

Podell-Brendan-Zoetis-Award
Graduate students at South Asian University participate in a workshop led by scientists in the CSU Mycobacteria Research Laboratories.

International Intrigue

A group of CSU tuberculosis researchers recently traveled to India to teach essential laboratory skills for promising young scientists at South Asian University. The visitors received an unexpected thank-you. Read more…

International Collaborations on Leprosy in the Amazon Rainforest

John Spencer spends nearly six months of every year in the Amazon region of Brazil working to end the stigma associated with leprosy and to help those infected understand, manage, and defeat the disease. As part of the MRL, he has been dedicated for the past 15 years on studying M. leprae, the tiny bacterium that causes leprosy, and his ongoing collaboration with Dr. Claudio Salgado is creating healthier communities in rural Brazil. Watch the videos below to learn more about how the MRL and the One Health Institute at Colorado State University are involved, and read more… 

Knife to Scalpel

A one-of-a-kind instrument built at Colorado State University lets scientists map cellular composition in three dimensions at the nanoscale, allowing researchers to watch how cells respond to new medications at the most minute level ever observed.  Read more…

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…