Since their discovery, antibiotics and other antimicrobial agents have saved millions of lives and significantly eased patients’ suffering. However, over time, micro-organisms have developed resistance to existing antibiotics making infections difficult, if not impossible, to treat. The recent appearance of multiple-resistant bacterial infections has radically increased the necessity for new antibiotic discovery.
As part of a three-year programme, the joint research facility will utilise CABI’s unique collection of fungi gathered from all parts of the world, to screen for potential new antibiotics. Although the first natural product antibiotic to be used clinically, penicillin, was isolated from a fungus, these organisms have not been as extensively evaluated as bacteria as sources of new drugs for treating infections and so there is great potential for discovery in CABI’s 28,000 organism collection.
Furthermore, over the past 25 years companies have concentrated on using chemistry-based approaches to modify recognised antibiotic structures. However, the use of natural products, from fungi, which have evolved from millions of years of competition against bacteria is likely to lead to products with new modes of antibiotic action that disease-causing bacteria cannot counter. This new joint facility aims to harness these natural chemical compounds from fungi to offer potential new antibiotics. Similarly, compounds that have proven health benefits when taken in the diet (so-called nutraceuticals) are also likely to be found in fungi and the new joint research facility will also screen the collection for new nutraceuticals.
Professor Peter Bramley and Dr Paul Fraser in the School of Biological Sciences at Royal Holloway and Dr Trevor Nicholls, CEO and Dr Joan Kelley Executive Director of CABI are managing the project. Professor Bramley and Dr Fraser’s extensive experience in molecular biology and analytical methodologies will be applied to state-of-the-art screening techniques for the discovery of new compounds and the manipulation, recombination and expression of their biosynthetic pathways to bioengineer new, related compounds. Dr Nicholls’ experience in the biotechnology industry and Dr Kelley’s expertise and knowledge of mycology and biodiversity will direct the research to identify strains which are likely to be more biochemically diverse and commercially valuable for screening.
Professor Bramley commented, “This joint initiative lays the foundations for a long term collaboration with potential strategic benefits, both research and commercial. A major focus will be the search for new antibiotics and nutraceuticals, for which there is now increasing commercial, nutritional and medical demand.”
Dr Trevor Nicholls, CEO CABI added, “This is a really exciting partnership and we are looking forward to working with the expertise of the scientists at Royal Holloway. We are hopeful that our collaboration will prove the winning formula for discovering new drugs to fight cancers, diseases and resistant strains of infections such as MRSA.”
The joint facility is located in the Royal Holloway’s School of Biosciences and houses a new state-of-the-art mass spectrometer. As part of this collaboration, two technicians will be employed and a PhD studentship funded.
Royal Holloway has also obtained early stage seed fund investment from the London Development Agency backed WestFocus PARK Fund, to commercialise any potential new discoveries emerging from this project. The project team will work closely with the Research & Enterprise department at Royal Holloway to protect, manage and exploit any new intellectual property.
How brains surrender to sleep
23.06.2017 | IMP - Forschungsinstitut für Molekulare Pathologie GmbH
A new technique isolates neuronal activity during memory consolidation
22.06.2017 | Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.06.2017 | Information Technology