Bioactive sugars - sweet alternatives to antibiotics

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


In an AMR era, alternatives to antibiotics to prevent or to treat infectious diseases are urgently needed. Pathogens present a wide range of species-specific carbohydrates and carbohydrate-binding proteins on their cell surfaces, which provide novel opportunities for detection, prevention and intervention through diet or with novel therapeutics.

Inspired by the diverse health benefits associated with human milk oligosaccharides, this project will explore the development of new integrated chemical and biochemical methods for the production of bioactive carbohydrates that have potential to impact on bacteria associated with diseases of humans and farm animals. The carbohydrates concerned will be further developed as probes to understand their molecular mechanism of action, with the aid of structural, microbiological and cell biology studies. Specifically, they will be evaluated for their ability to act: as prebiotics for commensal microorganisms; as receptor decoys for pathogens; and as immune stimulants for the host.

Capitalising on their extensive and synergisitic expertise in carbohydrate biochemistry and glycobiology, this project will be run jointly between Rob Field's group at the John Innes Centre and Nathalie Juge's group at Quadram Institute Bioscience. It will also will involve extensive engagement with the industrial partner, Iceni Diagnostics, which is co-located on the Norwich Research Park along with JIC and QIB.


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