Sunday, January 9, 2011

Better than Moldy Bread on an Axe Wound: Science Pub Visits the new Antibiotics

The fungus among us makes us healthy and hale!

Beer drinkers owe their pleasure to yeast just as much as 20th century wounded and ill owed their recovery to mold. Molds and yeasts are magical fungi, providing blue cheese, beer and wine and bread, and penicillin.

But what's the next generation of antibiotics? As you drink your beer at the next Salem Science Pub, at Brown's Towne Lounge on Tuesday at 6:30pm, you'll learn more about the engineering and chemistry of the next round of wonder drugs.
With the increased use and frequent misuse of antibiotics, there is a growing concern about the rise of drug-resistant strains of bacteria and other pathogens. Many drug discoveries have happened by accident, such as through chance observation or through scientific analysis of folk remedies. Often those broad-spectrum drugs can lead to negative side effects or drug resistance.

But that is changing. Sarah Kirk, PhD, and her research group focus on designing medications that target specific receptors in the body for distinct purposes, a process known as “rational drug design.” They work to understand relationships among the drug’s molecular structure, the interaction with the body’s receptors, and therapeutic result. At this Science Pub, learn about discovering the size and shape of the receptors, designing drugs to fit them, and how all the pieces must be put together like a puzzle.

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