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Scientists in multiple disciplines are working on ways to circumvent antibiotic resistance. Dr. Sanchez explains why targeting biofilms requires more study.

She describes:

  • The composition and nature of biofilm behavior.
  • What happens to bacteria when they try inhibiting the biofilm.
  • How cheese has its own interesting biofilm study potential.

Dr. Laura Sanchez, Assistant Professor of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy with a courtesy appointment in Chemistry at The University of Illinois at Chicago runs her lab to better understand the pathogen-biofilm interplay in order to fight bacterial disease in humans. Dr. Sanchez is attempting to use chemistry as an early warning detection system.

The lab uses specialized mass spectrometry to study biofilm behavior and understand the metabolites the pathogens emit in this biofilm state. The lab’s state-of-the-art mass spectrometry technique allows them to study other elements of human diseases, such as ovarian cancer, in the hopes that they can create a less invasive ovarian cancer diagnosis tool to enable earlier detection.

Their findings of biofilm behavior have indicated that trying to inhibit a biofilm has a negative result in terms of impeding the pathogen. In fact, in a study on moth infection, eradicating the biofilm actually accelerated the disease progression, making the bacteria increase its virulent nature.

The lab has also studied the nature of biofilms on cheese rinds and found interesting results regarding the same types of cheeses separated by geography as well as an association between salty brines on cheese and ocean bacteria.

For more, see Dr. Sanchez’s lab page at https://www.sanchezlab.science/

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