Structure-based antibiotic discovery on the bacterial membrane

The growing resistance of bacterial infections to standard antibiotic therapies is a major health concern around the globe. The microorganisms that cause serious illnesses such as hospital staphylococcus aureus infections, tuberculosis and meningitis are increasingly developing antibiotic resistant strains both within the hospital and community settings. Some particular bacterial infections, often termed “”superbugs””, have become entirely resistant to all antibiotics currently used in hospitals. Dr. Natalie Strynadka’s research is directed at understanding the way in which bacteria resist current families of antibiotics and at developing new antibiotic drugs that work by inhibiting specific features of the bacterial life-cycle. Her research team will undertake this research by characterizing the three-dimensional atomic structures of molecules critical to the viability of the bacteria, such as their ability to “inject” antibiotic resistant genes into host cells. By describing these structures in fine detail, they will be positioned to design antibiotics that specifically inhibit these critical molecules of the bacteria, destroying its ability to cause disease.