How high do you think the chance is that you will die from a small wound that is infected? Not very high, right? You get an antibiotic and the infection is gone in no time. Antibiotics are also used to prevent infections during surgery. They help you to get through a surgery in a safe way. But over the years more and more bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics. Meaning that simple, treatable infections might just become deadly again, just like they were in the middle ages. Because in the near future we might not have a cure anymore. Therefore our group is working to find vulnerabilities in bacteria that can be used to treat bacterial infections with new antibiotics. First, we need to find weak spots in the bacteria that current antibiotics don’t use yet. We try out several molecules to see which of them bind to proteins that are essential for bacterial survival. If a molecule binds to such a protein that might just be the weak spot that we are looking for to develop a new antibiotic in the future. So that also in the future, bacterial infections will still be treatable and we can all stay healthy.

Leiden University

Stephan Hacker uses moleculas to find weak spots in resistant bacteria so that we can continue to develop new antibiotics.

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