Developing novel antibacterial ionobiotics
Antibiotic-resistant bacterial pathogens represent an imminent global threat to human health. The McDevitt lab has used our understanding of bacterial chemical biology to develop ionobiotics as a new antimicrobial therapeutic strategy. Ionobiotics break multidrug resistance in high-priority bacterial pathogens and restore the ability of antibiotics to treat drug-resistant pneumonia and sepsis infections.
The roles of metal ions in host-pathogen interaction
Scavenging metal ions from the host is a crucial facet of bacterial infection. Recent research has revealed that the innate immune system can manipulate the availability of certain metal ions during infection either starving or poisoning the bacteria. Our research investigates which metal ions are used to kill invading bacteria and the molecular targets of these metals.
Metal ions are essential for the chemistry that occurs within every cell in all forms of life. Pathogenic bacteria steal their essential metals from the host during infection to enable disease. The McDevitt lab is investigating the transporters of essential metals, such as manganese, iron, and zinc, in high priority pathogens such as Streptococcus pneumoniae, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Characterising the cellular roles of metals
Advancements in the field of bacterial chemical biology have been limited due to a lack of capabilities beyond traditional probes that have restricted the field to the use of non-physiological model systems. Work in the McDevitt lab combines innovative new methodologies and technical approaches to directly address unresolved questions in how bacterial organisms use metal ions and the molecular targets of metal toxicity.