Faculty Mentor: Gary Sulikowski, Ph.D.
Dissertation Description: Chemical Synthesis of Siderophores
The emergence of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria has been clearly documented as a significant public health concern necessitating the discovery of novel antibiotics. Ideally, these novel compounds would utilize modes of action dissimilar from those currently available. It has been well-documented that bacteria require metals for metabolism and pathogenesis, rendering metal acquisition pathways a potential target for such antibiotics. The production and secretion of siderophores is among the methods bacteria use to acquire metals from their environments. The siderophores chelate metals, such as ferric iron, and the bacterium reuptake the siderophore-metal complex. Additional study is necessary in order to target these pathways for therapeutic development. However, these siderophores can only be isolated in small quantities, necessitating the development of concise and robust syntheses. My project focuses on the development of efficient and concise syntheses of these naturally occurring microbial metabolites in order to enable their biological study. I’m currently working toward the synthesis of two siderophores in an effort to provide ample material for use as chemical tools in the study of metal acquisition and homeostasis in select bacteria.