BIOMERIT Researchers win UCC Life Sciences Invention of the Year
Chemical Messaging for Prevention of Microbial Biofilm Colonisation
We are fast approaching a post-antibiotic era whereby most if not all of the conventional antibiotics that have served us well in the last century will become ineffective and unfit for purpose in preventing or treating even the most common of infections. This is particularly true where infectious agents enter the biofilm lifestyle, transitioning to antibiotic resistant organisms, refractory to most clinical interventions. The development of a suite of small molecules that have the capacity to interfere with the biofilm mode of colonisation was the basis of a recent UCC Life Sciences Invention of the Year Award.
Prof. Fergal O’Gara and Dr. Jerry Reen (BIOMERIT Research Centre, School of Microbiology), in collaboration with Dr. Ger McGlacken (Department of Chemistry and ABCRF) have discovered a number of important microbial effector/signal molecules that act as inhibitors of biofilm formation against the human pathogens Candida albicans and Aspergillus fumigatus. These molecules are chemically tractable and non-cytotoxic, which underpins their synthetic development as targeted and specific anti-biofilm therapeutics. This research, involving Dr. John Phelan, David Woods, Rachel Shanahan and other team members, is part of an ongoing collaborative programme funded primarily through the SFI TIDA programme.