Biological Context (Theme 2)
Important areas of research include:
1 – Elucidation of the complex life cycles of actinomycete bacteria that produce antibiotics
We seek to understand better the growth and development of these bacteria. This work provides fundamental new insights into the biology of bacteria, and informs research on the valuable natural products they produce.
2 – Improved understanding of the protein targets of clinically useful antibiotics
Many antibiotics inhibit the growth of bacteria by binding to specific proteins (target proteins) in or on the bacterial cell. We seek to understand the interactions between antibiotics and some major target proteins. This information will enable design of improved antibiotics, and will thus help to solving the growing problem of bacterial resistance to antibiotics.
3 – Discovery of chemicals produced by soil bacteria that affect other soil organisms
Some soil bacteria produce chemicals kill or repel other competing bacteria and fungi, or facilitate beneficial associations between bacteria and plant roots. Our research on these poorly-understood “chemical messages” suggests that they could hold the key to sustainable improvement of crop health and yield.