Speakers

Julian Hurdle
Associate Professor, Texas A&M University

Dr. Hurdle’s research centers around three themes: (1) how Clostridium difficile evolves resistance to front-line antibiotics and the clinical impact of resistance on treatment outcomes; (2) discovering of novel therapeutic concepts for antibiotic-resistant infections; and (3) applying chemical genetic strategies to understand C. difficile pathogenic mechanisms. Our research environment is therefore multi-disciplinary: ranging from use of phenotypic and enzyme-based high-throughput screening of chemical libraries to discover molecular probes and drug lead candidates; elucidating biological targets and action of candidate compounds using genomics, chemical genetics and molecular biology; and use of animal models of infection to answer questions, in vivo.

 

 

Laura Sanchez
Assistant Professor, Univ. of Illinois Chicago

A major area of Dr. Sanchez’s research is now dedicated to how beneficial bacteria—our “microbiome”—are required for nutrient acquisition, immune and tissue development, and to preferentially occupy niches that otherwise can be overtaken by pathogens. Bacteria dedicate up to 25 % of their genetic material to chemistry, but little is known about how bacteria use chemistry in a host. Therefore, a major question now is to understand how chemical communication between the host and colonizing microbe mediate specific interactions.

 

 

 

Jaclyn Winter
Assistant Professor, Univ. of Utah

Secondary metabolites are specialized small molecules produced in nature and often possess a variety of biological activities that can be used toward improving our quality of life. These molecules possess exquisite chemical diversity and are often an inspiration for the development of new pharmaceutical agents. Research in the Winter lab is focused on 1) Elucidating the biosynthetic blueprint that nature uses for assembling secondary metabolites in bacteria and fungi, 2) Manipulating and reprograming biosynthetic systems for the generation of new compounds with enhanced bioactivity, and 3) Exploring the functional roles these molecules serve the producing organism, as well as their impact on the environment. To address these topics, her lab applies a multifaceted approach in our studies and implement research techniques from molecular genetics, biochemistry, chemistry, bioinformatics, structural biology and bioengineering

 

Mostafa Zamanian
Assistant Professor, UW-Madison

The central ambition of the Zamanian laboratory is to combine molecular biology, genetics, and computational approaches to make discoveries that improve our understanding of parasite biology and our ability to treat parasitic infections. This includes the identification of new targets for drug discovery, the elucidation of mechanisms of drug resistance, and the development of new tools for parasite manipulation and phenotypic screening. Their work involves the direct study of human and animal parasites, including the mosquito-borne nematodes Brugia malayi and Dirofilaria immitis, and the snail-transmitted blood fluke Schistosoma mansoni. To complement these efforts, they leverage the power of the model nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. They strive to place our work in the context of a growing appreciation for parasite genetic diversity.