National Institutes of Health Fund Development of Antimicrobial Compounds in the Department of Chemistry

 Corson     The research lab of Dr. Kevin Bicker, Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry, has been awarded $130,000 from the National Institutes of Health.  This award, funded through the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, will fund the Bicker Lab’s efforts to develop antimicrobial peptoids effective against mature biofilms.  Biofilms are complex environments of protein and carbohydrate secreted by pathogenic microbes that protect the microbes from antibiotics, making them particularly difficult to treat.  Often found on chronic wounds, prosthetics, and biomedical devices, biofilms can be cross-kingdom polymicrobial with both bacteria and fungi living together in synergy. 

        Dr. Bicker’s lab focuses on developing biologically active peptoids, a class of peptide mimics with excellent biological stability.  An NIH award several years ago funded the initial development of a method for identifying peptoids with antimicrobial activity and the current NIH award seeks to build on these efforts by identifying peptoids with activity against pathogens growing in complex biofilms.  This award represents recognition by federal agencies of the cutting-edge, societally impactful research underway throughout the Department of Chemistry.