Chemical Biology of Antibioitics


Team Leader:

Ruben C. HARTKOORN

ATIP Avenir Laureate

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MISSION STATEMENT

Escalating antibiotic drug resistance is rapidly becoming a major global healthcare disaster. Today, more than 450,000 new cases of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis infections are diagnosed per year (3.6% of all new tuberculosis infections), with extensively drug resistant tuberculosis reported in more than 92 countries and reports of totally drug resistant tuberculosis. In addition, drug resistant nosocomial bacterial infections are already claiming the lives of more than 50,000 people each year in Europe and the USA. The incidence of drug resistance bacterial infections will continue to rise, impacting morbidity, longevity and mortality of patients. It is therefore essential that novel innovative approaches are taken that will allow for alternative means of treating these super bugs.

The CBA team is determined to impact on drug resistant bacterial infections by discovering and developing novel classes of antibiotics to combat Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Gram positive and Negative nosocomial bacterial infections. We aim to find such active molecules by screening unique small molecule libraries, and by rationally uncovering antibiotic natural products from silent biosynthetic gene clusters in rare actinomycetes (bacteria with an immense potential of producing antibiotic compounds). An additional emphasis is placed on the elucidation of the mechanism of action of novel or poorly studied molecules, with the aim of elucidating the vulnerability of these pathogenic bacteria. A detailed understanding of the mechanism of action of hit molecules will then be used to rationally improve its drug like properties.