Developing new antimicrobial compounds to treat serious bacterial infections
The problem: The global rise in infections caused by “superbugs”, which are resistant to many of the antibiotics we have available to us, is a cause of great concern today. These concerns are important to clinicians who facing increasing challenges in prescribing successful antibiotic regimens to patients so that they can enjoy a high quality of life. As a result new approaches to treating resistant bacterial infections are urgently needed.
The project: We will investigate different classes of enzymes which are involved in bacterial virulence as potential therapeutic targets and we will synthesise novel inhibitors and develop enzymatic assays. These compounds will then be characterised and investigated to see their effects in reducing the lethality of pathogenic bacteria in collaboration with Dr Mitali Sarkar-Tyson who leads the Burkholderia Research Group from the School of Biomedical Sciences at UWA, as well as industry partners.
The PhD project will primarily involve synthetic chemistry but if you are interested you can broaden your knowledge and skills in the areas of biochemistry and microbiology. You will be a part of a multidisciplinary team working within the group and interacting closely with a network of world-class scientists. Training will be provided to the candidate in all aspects of the project.
The laboratory is a highly collaborative environment where researchers work to solve problems in synthetic chemistry and chemical biology.
The laboratory enjoys extensive collaborations and researchers within the lab are provided with mentoring to aid their scientific development and enable them to realise their professional goals.
- Address the development of chemical tools using novel methodologies, both organic and medicinal
- Evaluate the effectiveness of such tools using molecular modelling, enzyme kinetics and protein chemistry
- Use these tools to examine how the bacteria are being affected by the compounds.
If you are excited about interdisciplinary science, enjoy experimental research in chemistry and/or biochemistry and are interested please contact me.
- Kahler CM, Sarkar-Tyson M, Kibble EA, Stubbs KA, Vrielink A., Enzyme targets for drug design of new anti-virulence therapeutics. Curr Opin Struct Biol., 2018 53, 140-150.
- Stone JK, DeShazer D, Brett PJ, Burtnick MN. Melioidosis: molecular aspects of pathogenesis. Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2014, 12, 1487-1499.
I completed my undergraduate and PhD studies at UWA, followed by post-doctoral studies at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada. I am currently an Associate Professor and my research interests are synthetic chemistry, carbohydrate chemistry and chemical- and glyco-biology.
Funding and Collaborations
- Funding - DSTL Industry Project
- External collaborators - Dr Phil Ireland, Dr Christopher Jenkins and Dr Isobel Norville, Defence Science and Technology Laboratory
- If this sounds interesting to you, get in touch!
How to Apply
- To be accepted into the Doctor of Philosophy, an applicant must demonstrate they have sufficient background experience in independent supervised research to successfully complete, and provide evidence of English language proficiency
- Requirements specific to this project - Applicants need to demonstrate adequate research by showing experience with organic chemistry and experience in biochemistry (desired but not essential). The level of experience required will depend on the project involved.
Submit enquiry to research team leader
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