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Lecture | NGL-lezing

Improving Nature’s Antibiotics to Overcome Resistant Bacteria

Thursday 19 October 2023
Niels Bohrweg 2
2333 CA Leiden
De Sitterzaal

Improving Nature’s Antibiotics to Overcome Resistant Bacteria

For nearly 100 years we have been using antibiotics to treat bacterial infections. In recent decades, however, more and more bacteria have found strategies to survive these drugs by becoming resistant. According to recent estimates from the World Health Organisation, by 2050 as many as 10 million extra people may die each year due to antibiotic resistance infections.

In this lecture Professor of Biological chemistry Nathaniel Martin will talk about how he combines the power of chemistry and naturally-occurring antibiotics to create new drugs to battle antibiotic resistance.

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Enhancing Nature

One of the main themes in Prof. Martin’s research is the use of organic chemistry to structurally modify naturally-occurring antibiotics. This approach relies on Nature’s ability to provide structurally complex, biologically active, molecules that can be structurally modified by chemists to enhance their antibiotic properties. In doing so, it is possible to access to new and improved versions of Nature’s antibiotics with the potential to treat serious drug-resistant bacterial infections.

About Nathaniel Martin

Nathaniel Martin was born and raised in Western Canada and obtained his PhD degree from the University of Alberta in 2004. He subsequently performed postdoctoral studies at the University of California Berkeley and in 2007 moved to Utrecht University to start his independent career.

In 2018 Martin was appointed Chair of Biological Chemistry at Leiden University where his research group works on developing new molecular strategies to address antibiotic resistance (www.martinlab.nl). With a firm foundation in bioorganic and medicinal chemistry, the approaches used by the Martin lab include the design and synthesis of new antibiotics as well as developing small molecule inhibitors of different resistance mechanisms. Martin has received a number of personal grants and awards in support of his research including the NWO VENI and VIDI grants as well as the ERC consolidator grant. To date, Martin has published 118 research papers and is named inventor on 9 patents. Since 2023 Martin is associate editor for the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, where he oversees submissions on infectious disease and he also sits on the executive board of the Netherlands Centre for One Health (www.ncoh.nl).

When not thinking about antibiotics Martin can most likely be found watching his favorite ice-hockey team.

Join us!

For more than 150 years, the Natuurwetenschappelijk Gezelschap Leiden has been organising high-quality scienctific lectures with renowned scientists at Leiden University. Each year at least one of these lectures is in English. Alumni, (former) employees and all other parties interested in the natural sciences are very welcome to attend.

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