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Series Four

Warwick Health GRP: AMR

Our AMR centre brings together Warwick and international academics, and industry partners. Our aim is to push forward fundamental discovery towards the development of effective antimicrobials, diagnostics and interventions informed by data, modelling and practice.

Tuesday 23 February 2021, 2.30-3.30pm MS Teams


The link will be sent out before the event. This session will be recorded.

Multi-targeting to tackle antibiotic resistance

Professor Christopher Dowson, Life Sciences

Successful antibiotics hit multiple targets, avoiding the rapid emergence of resistance due to spontaneous mutation. Failures, still to account for this, need to be learnt and remembered. There are few options to develop new antibiotics that multi-target biochemical pathways with sufficient conservation to multi-target yet retain a therapeutic window. We have been revisiting known essential targets in new ways to achieve this. Typically, past approaches have been hampered by a lack of structural data and chemical start points with poor bacterial permeability. We are currently exploiting new understanding within a new academic industry interaction, an Open Collaborative approach as a novel modality for antibiotic discovery in a landscape that has an otherwise broken economic model.

Discovery and bioengineering of antibiotics from microorganisms

Professor Greg Challis, Department of Chemistry and Warwick Integrative Synthetic Biology Centre

Most clinically-used antibiotics are microbial natural products or semi-synthetic derivatives and microorganisms remain a promising source for the discovery of antibiotics that hit new targets, or known targets in novel ways. We have developed a range of approaches to discover novel antibiotics from diverse bacteria, including saprophytes and opportunistic pathogens. Such compounds often need modification to optimise them for clinical application. However, their structural complexity makes this using challenging to achieve using conventional synthetic methods. Thus, we are developing a detailed molecular understanding of the cellular mechanisms for assembly of these metabolites. The knowledge gained is being harnessed in biosynthetic engineering approaches to structural diversification. The resulting antibiotic analogues illuminate structure-activity relationships, accelerating the progression of promising new compounds towards therapeutic application.

Antimicrobial resistance: Bacterial mechanisms to counteract antibiotics

Associate Professor Meera Unnikrishnan, Microbiology WMS

Antimicrobial resistance in bacteria is usually associated with acquisition of genetic elements which confer resistance. However, bacteria also utilise a number of other strategies to resist antibiotics during infection, including formation of biofilm communities and survival inside host cells. Such bacterial lifestyles have been associated with persistent or recurrent bacterial infections which are a huge clinical challenge. Investigating mechanisms underlying bacterial survival is crucial for the development of effective preventive and therapeutic approaches, particularly for recurrent infections. Our current work focuses on investigating bacterial molecules that could be potential drug targets and on new ways to effectively deliver drugs to infected tissues.

In case you missed our webinar you can watch it here