DISRUPT – Advancing into biofilms with new active substances

We search for new substances that can be applied against the formation of bacterial communities, so-called biofilms. This could prevent many infections with antibiotic-resistant and antibiotic-tolerant pathogens.

  • ​Project description (ongoing research project)

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    Bacterial infections that are related to biofilms (bacterial communities that form a dense coating on diverse surfaces) are difficult to treat with current antibiotic strategies. All the more so when drug resistant bacteria are involved. We investigate new approaches in order to acquire new tools, targets and agents for understanding and treating biofilm-associated infections in four major antimicrobial resistant pathogens: Staphylococci, Pneumococci, E. coli and Pseudomonas. By collaborating with research partners in Norway and Germany, our project is able to screen for anti-biofilm active substances and construct tools to apply them genome-wide, based on state-of-the-art gene sequencing technologies. Finally, we shed light on how exactly the new substances work.

  • Background

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    Biofilm-related infections with drug resistant bacteria are particularly difficult to treat, because the biofilm offers bacteria additional protection against antimicrobials. New strategies and compounds to fight such resilient infections are sorely needed. But the full repertoire of genes and processes that are essential for biofilm formation in different microbes is still unknown.

  • Aim

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    We want to identify anti-biofilm active substances and antibodies and construct tools to apply them genome-wide. Furthermore, we aim to characterise the mechanisms of action of these novel anti-biofilm agents.

  • Relevance

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    New tools to inhibit biofilm formation will reduce the risks of infections with resistant bacteria and could make them susceptible to existing antibiotics.

  • Original title

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    Fighting antimicrobial resistant infections by high-throughput discovery of biofilm-disrupting agents and mechanisms