Battling superbugs with atomic blueprints
Health officials have warned against the overuse of antibiotics for decades. Today, hospitals are seeing an alarming increase in the number of patients who have become resistant to traditional antibiotic treatments for bacterial infections because of this overuse. This is a global concern with no country left unaffected.
Several potentially deadly bacterial pathogens—including those that cause tuberculosis, skin and blood infections, and respiratory illness—have gained so-called “superbug” status. These superbugs can resist treatment from all the antibiotics that doctors have relied on for decades.
Using a wide variety of biophysical tools, Natalie Strynadka, Canada Research Chair in Structure-based Antimicrobial Discovery on the Bacterial Membrane, aims to understand, at the atomic level, the molecular mechanisms by which these notorious bugs resist antibiotics.
She and her research team are also hoping to characterize previously unidentified molecular targets that allow bacteria and infections to thrive, providing new classes of potential therapeutics for the clinical arsenal that fights infection by turning these critical proteins off.
Through characterization of the molecular blueprints essential for bacterial infection and drug resistance, Strynadka’s research will provide the foundation for designing new antibiotic therapies that can help patients in Canada and around the world fight against, and recover from, fatal or life-altering infections.