Drug Discovery

A woman working in a laboratory.Dangerous bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics faster than new drugs can be approved. The last new class of FDA approved antibiotics was discovered in the 1980s.

Challenges include difficulties in identifying new drugs to keep up with fast-evolving bacteria, significant financial disincentives for investment in new antibiotics, lack of antibiotics where they are needed and continuing overuse in health care and agriculture globally. If no effective control is developed, superbug infections are expected to be the leading cause of human death by 2050, topping 10 million a year in the United States alone—more than all projected cancer deaths combined. Antibiotic resistance has been recognized as a national priority, yet there are few centers in this research area and the ones that exist are not focused on fundamental research.

BioInspired at Syracuse University brings together internationally recognized research strengths in microbial biofilms, cell-cell signaling and antibacterial technologies. Areas of expertise include:

  • Biofilms and Antibiotic Resistance
  • Bacteria-Material Interactions
  • Pre-translational Models
  • Antimicrobial Discovery and Therapeutics

Our goal is to develop complementary expertise in the following areas:

  • Quantum Biochemistry Computation: understanding how drug molecules interact with bacterial cell membranes and intracellular targets and what structural elements are the key for rational design of better therapeutic agents.
  • Medicinal Chemistry: achieving rational design of new drugs based on screening results of large compound libraries and how to chemically synthesize new compounds based on rational design.
  • Drug Delivery and Pharmacology: improving efficacy of therapeutic agents through targeted delivery, including methods to increase selectivity to eradicate bacteria without toxicity to human cells.
  • Translational Models: leveraging findings from basic research to achieve real world applications, including increasing success in drug discovery and materials research by demonstrating in vivo safety and efficacy.