New antibiotics from ants and plants

Lead Research Organisation: University of East Anglia
Department Name: Graduate Office

Abstract

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is an increasingly serious threat to global public health, but is an inevitable consequence of the use of antibiotics. This studentship will seek to discover new antifungal and antibacterial agents from plant endophytic bacteria, and the bacterial mutualists that live on the cuticle of fungus farming ants.
Penicillin isolated from the fungus Penicillium notatum sparked 'The Golden Age of Antibiotics' which spanned the 1940's to 1960's when most major classes of antibiotics were discovered. Indeed, the majority of antibiotics in clinical use today are derived from natural products made by microorganisms. Natural products are important for the treatment of malaria and parasitic diseases (see 2015 Nobel Prize for Medicine), and as environmentally benign agrochemicals to increase crop yields which can help feed the growing population.
Alarmingly, the pipeline of new antibiotics has dried up at a time when AMR and emerging new pathogens has made their discovery a matter of extreme urgency.

Publications

10 25 50

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/M011216/1 01/10/2015 30/09/2023
2060949 Studentship BB/M011216/1 01/10/2018 30/09/2022 Hannah McDonald