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Millions to research for discovering new antibiotics

Ruth Brenk at The Department of biomedicine received a grant of 7 million NOK for research to discover new antibiotics. The work will be carried out with collaborators at the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology.

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Ruth Brenk

Antibiotics are one of the greatest medical discoveries of all time, and it saves millions from dying of bacterial infections. Today, however, antibiotic resistance is on the rise, and unresolved, this challenge puts us in the risk of throwing us back to the dark times where many bacterial infections killed us:

“One of the biggest challenges today is that it’s difficult to discovery new drugs that are able to go through the membrane covering the bacteria”, Brenk explains.

Identifies target areas

However, based on earlier work, Brenk and her colleagues have shortlisted three potential targets using computational methods.

Roughly put, their hypothesis is that these targets bind small molecules that can enter the bacteria and thus working on these targets should result in a higher chance of success when developing new antibiotics.

“We will use experimental and computational screening methods to discover molecules blocking the functions of the targets and such potentially kill the bacteria”, says professor Brenk.

She underlines that by the three year period the project lasts, they will only lay the foundations for new antibiotics.

Excited about the collaboration

The work will be conducted together with world leading researches in Hyderabad, India, and Brenk is looking forward to the collaboration.

“The Indian Institute of Chemical Technology is a top institute, with very good medicinal chemists and I’m very excited about this, also”, she says: “I have never been to India, and this collaboration gives me a good opportunity to get first hand insights in the exciting research that is going on there”.

The grant is a part of the project Bedre Helse by Forskningsrådet. The goal is to stimulate research collaboration between Norwegian and Indian research facilities. 6 projects have received funding. The projects are partly funded by the embassies of the two countries.