Visualisation of the biological effects of small molecules on tuberculosis bacteria.

Eachan Johnson : Systems Chemical Biology of Infection and Resistance Laboratory

We are developing precision molecular tools to study how pathogenic bacteria survive and infect, enabling the design of new antimicrobial therapies.

As soon as new antimicrobial drugs are discovered and used in the clinic, pathogenic bacteria inevitably evolve resistance, driving an unsustainable cycle threatening the twentieth century's improvements to public health.

Antibiotics revolutionised modern medicine, but once again millions of lives are threatened by pathogenic bacteria like M. tuberculosis, which causes tuberculosis, and K. pneumoniae, the cause of many recurrent and hard-to-treat urinary tract infections. 

Working at the interface of genetics, chemistry, and machine learning, we use chemical 'probes' to systematically and precisely disrupt the cellular machinery of pathogenic bacteria and study the consequences of this disruption on their ability to survive, infect, and resiliently evolve resistance.

With this approach, we seek to bridge the gap between understanding pathogen biology and designing new therapeutic strategies.