Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Microbial biofilms are implicated in the majority of hospital-acquired infections and are also known to be dramatically less sensitive to antibiotics than their free-floating (planktonic) counterparts. The resilience of biofilms toward treatment with standard antibiotics is in large part due to a thick layer of exopolymeric material that covers the pathogens within the biofilm and prevents facile delivery of the drug to the infectious cells. Our team is interested in developing new antibiofilm materials (known as ionic liquids/deep eutectic solvents) that are capable of disrupting the exopolymeric material and killing the underlying pathogens. A second focus of our team involves the development and characterization of inhibitors of bacterial secondary metabolism. Specifically, bacterial isoprenoid (terpene) biosynthesis has emerged as an attractive target for the development of new antibiotics. Our team is interested in characterizing the effect of these inhibitors against pathogenic microbes to gain a deeper understanding of how they may be improved to make more effective drugs.