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Interdisciplinary Antimicrobial Discovery: IIDR Trainees Collaborate to Develop New Treatments Against Superbugs

Dr. Brent Weber (left) & Dr. Srinivas Dharavath (right), postdoctoral fellows in Dr. Eric Brown’s and Dr. Jakob Magolan’s labs, respectively.

IIDR trainees Dr. Brent Weber, a biologist in the Brown Lab, and Dr. Srinivas Dharavath, a chemist in the Magolan Lab, perfectly exemplify the incredible interdisciplinary research efforts that are currently underway within the IIDR.

In the Brown lab, Brent identified molecules that kill the bacterial pathogen Klebsiella pneumoniae by using a unique assay run under conditions that closely mimic human infection. In 2017, these two postdoctoral fellows joined forces with the aim of synthesizing and evaluating a small library of new synthetic antibacterial molecules based on Brent’s initial hits.

To date, Srinivas has synthesized more than 20 new compounds – some of which Brent has found to exhibit potent antimicrobial activity. Ultimately, these two bright scientists hope to develop optimized molecules that are efficacious in animal models of infection.

Fantastic work!