Using host defense peptides and their synthetic analogs as alternative therapy for chronic infection caused by multi-drug resistant organisms

The discovery of antibiotics was one of the greatest advances in modern medicine, enabling control of infections. However, bacteria can develop antibiotic resistance over time, and become less sensitive to antibiotics. Without effective treatments, infections by these organisms can lead to prolonged illness, and routine surgeries can become life threatening. The lack of new antibiotics to combat the rapidly growing number of multi-drug resistant (MDR) organisms has become one of the most serious global health concerns. There is an urgent need to develop new therapeutic strategies against MDR organisms.

Dr. Choi’s research will investigate the potential use of a group of natural molecules known as host defence peptides as an alternative therapy to treat chronic infection caused by MDR organisms. The advantage of these peptides is that they do not directly target microorganisms; instead, these molecules promote the body’s immune system to fight against infections. This unique ability prevents microorganisms from developing resistance towards the peptides.

Results from this research will be an exciting example of alternative therapy to treat antibiotic resistant infections.

End of Award Update: October 2022

Most exciting outputs

One of the most exciting outcomes is to have the opportunity to present my results at an international conference—the Gordon Research Conference—and establish networks with scientists across the world.

Impacts so far

The Michael Smith Health Research BC/ Lotte & John Hecht Memorial Foundation Research Trainee award allowed me to focus on my project to develop alternative therapeutic strategies against multi-drug resistant organisms, especially during the COVID pandemic.

Potential future influence

The award gave me opportunities to attend various conferences where I presented my work, met with researchers whom I can learn from to advance my knowledge and skills, and built supporting networks, all of which are invaluable for my career goal as a researcher.

Next steps

We are in the process of writing a manuscript on utilizing lung organoid model for screening antimicrobial and immunomodulatory therapies against Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection.

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