The world is faced by a great challenge posed by emerging bacterial strains that are multi-resistant to antimicrobial drugs. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR), especially among Gram-negative bacteria, has progressed so seriously that treatment options for common infections and minor injuries may soon become ineffective unless global actions across several sectors are taken. The need for new antimicrobials has been recognised on many levels, e.g. by the WHO, the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, and by the European Medicines Agency. And yet, novel first-in-class antibiotics against Gram-negative bacteria have not been discovered for decades.
Our research focuses on enhancing antimicrobial drug discovery – covering aspects from early target validation to detailed characterisation studies of novel antimicrobial substances. We develop fast and predictive high-throughput screening (HTS) tools, for example, by using bacterial bioreporters, and use combinations of target- and cell-based approaches in our screening campaigns. We are also aiming to develop advanced, phenotypic cell models for early evaluation of screening hits as well as to study the effects of novel antimicrobial compounds on host-pathogen interactions by using multi-species co-cultures. Special emphasis is also placed on using natural products (NP) and NP-inspired synthetic compounds in screening to facilitate their integration into HTS campaigns.
We belong to the Drug Research Program and the Division of Pharmaceutical Biosciences at the Faculty of Pharmacy. We are also hosting the Bioactivity Screening Unit, which provides researchers access to screening instrumentation as well as consultation in matters such as compound libraries, screening assay development and quality control relevant for screening campaigns. This unit belongs to the Drug Discovery and Chemical Biology network, and is a HiLIFE infrastructure facility, and EU-OPENSCREEN partner site.