Antibiotic resistance and multi-drug resistant pathogens pose a serious danger to the health of humans and the ability to treat life-threatening infections. Since 2009, a bacteriologist and peptide chemist, Monique van Hoek and Barney Bishop respectively, have been joining forces to address this growing threat by attempting to identify natural sources of peptides millions of years of evolution in the making—peptides that provide reptiles with robust, innate immunity that allows them to survive loss of limbs, open wounds, and the consumption of decaying corpses without any negative repercussions. In particular, Hoek and Bishop have been analyzing very small amounts of Komodo dragon blood, and after testing hundreds of peptides against a number of bacteria, they’ve isolated and synthetically stabilized one peptide that has shown antibacterial, anti-biofilm, and wound-healing properties. They join the podcast today to discuss all the ins and outs of their research and the potential it holds for the future of antibiotic resistance and human health.
Tune in to hear the full conversation and visit adr.gmu.edu to learn more.