Divide and conquer: disrupting bacterial biofilms with cyclic dipeptides

Year of award: 2018


  • Dr Clarissa Czekster

    University of St Andrews

Project summary

By 2050, someone will die from antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections every three seconds. We need to develop new drugs to combat antibiotic resistance. Many bacteria grow by sticking to a surface in structures called biofilms. Some bacteria are completely resistant to antibiotics when they are part of a biofilm. Cyclic dipeptides are molecules that can disrupt bacterial growth and biofilm formation. They are common in nature but their biological function is unknown.

I will study the enzymes that make these molecules, how they are affecting bacteria and how this information can be used to our benefit. I will manipulate these enzymes into making new molecules to be tested for antimicrobial activity. I will focus on disrupting growth and biofilm formation in two organisms that cause infections in humans.

My findings will increase our knowledge of bacterial infections and help us find new ways to inhibit bacterial growth and/or biofilm formation.