William M. Wuest, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry
The Development of Chemical Probes to Study Nucleoside Signaling in Bacterial Biofilms
Abstract: The proposed research will focus on the development of new antibiotics to curve the increasing percentage of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Persistent infections, for example within the lungs of cystic fibrosis patients, are typically the result of bacterial biofilms. Biofilms are a lifestyle of bacteria that make them very difficult to treat using currently available antibiotics. New methods to treat a variety of bacterial infections are becoming increasingly important because of the high incidence of antibiotic resistance found in chronic infections. This research seeks to develop new compounds to be used both to treat and also to better understand bacterial biofilms. The compounds that will be created will act as “communication disruptors” of the bacteria’s normal activities. If successful, this research would be the first of its kind to specifically kill bacteria within a biofilm. The proposed research is the perfect medium to train graduate and undergraduate students in both chemistry and biology preparing them for future careers in the sciences and medicine.