Selective screening of natural antibiotics through lead discovery

John Migliore

My research focuses on finding new drug candidates by taking advantage of the large number of antimicrobial compounds already produced by mother nature.

The rise in drug resistant bacteria generates challenges for researchers, doctors, and patients. While drug and pharmaceutical companies continue to focus on developing synthetic drugs, a growing number of academic communities are beginning to revitalize a traditional lead discovery process for discovering new drug candidates. The work reported in this study establishes a two-path, parallel approach. We will assist in the search for unique active compounds. The first path incorporates extraction, isolation, and purification of known antibiotics from bacterial sources. Through various techniques, this phase of the project ensures the proper selection and characterization of the different classes of antimicrobial compounds. The second path creates a robust screening methodology for potentially active compounds. Through activity screens, such as zone of inhibition testing and phytochemical screening, these complementary procedures provide information toward the antimicrobial activity and chemical class of a compound. With the information gained from the second path, proper extraction methodologies may be constructed to promote selectivity of active compounds during each step in the isolation process of unknown samples. Although identification of novel compounds through lead discovery proves challenging, the development of systematic screening and isolation procedures provides a solid framework for identifying and isolating new drug candidates.