Chemical Biology of Antibiotics

Head of Team


ATIP Avenir Laureate





The Chemical Biology of Antibiotics (CBA) research team is headed Ruben Hartkoorn and is focused on discovering new antibiotics to target drug resistant bacteria. There is currently a frightening increase in antibiotic resistance that is threatening our global healthcare system, possibly sending us back to the pre-antibiotic era of the 19th century. The drug resistant bacteria that pose a fundamental medical urgency are now officially prioritised by the WHO and include M. tuberculosis as well as important nosocomial bacteria. The CBA team focusses its antibiotic research on M. tuberculosis, A. baumannii, Enterobacteriaceae, P. aeruginosa, S. aureus and S. pneumoniae. The CBA team focuses on (1) discoveringnovel antibiotic classes that target drug resistant and tolerant bacteria, (2) the vectorisation of antibiotics to improve bacterial penetration, (3) antibiotic efflux pump inhibitors in Gram-negative bacteria, and finally (4) defining novel mechanisms of antibiotic resistance.

Dr. Hartkoorn obtained a PhD in Pharmacology & Therapeutics (University of Liverpool, UK), and has been a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Liverpool, UK (advisor Prof David Back & Saye Khoo), the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, CH (EPFL, advisor Prof Stewart Cole), and at the University of Geneva (advisor Prof. Dominique Soldati-Favre).
Since 2015 Dr Hartkoorn has become a permeant employee of the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM) and started the CBA research team supported through the ATIP-Avenir young researcher program. The CBA team has since developed many innovative research programs tackling antibiotic drug development, programs supported by the ERC (consolidator grant 2019), ATIP-Avenir, ANR (French-German collaborative program 2019), FRM, CPER-CTRL and the SMART-lab.