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Luedemann Natural Product Discovery

Cell cultures in dishThe majority of antibiotics  in  clinical  use today  are  natural  products (NP) or NP-derivatives produced by environmental  microorganisms as a means of thwarting the growth of competing organisms.One such example is the aminoglycoside, gentamicin, which was isolated from the soil  organism Micromonospora  purpurea and developed to treat several types of bacterial infections by Dr. George Luedemann and colleagues. However, after the golden age of antibiotics in the 1950s, natural product sources have largely been exhausted. Yet Dr. Luedemann hypothesized that novel structural classes of NP antibiotics remain to be discovered from uncharacterized microbial  sources, such as slow growing organisms that exist in harsh, arid, nutrient-limited environments.

Prior work by our lab screened over 2000 Geodermatophilus bacteria collected by Dr. Luedemann and found five species with high potential of containing novel antibiotics. These five species demonstrate significant antimicrobial activity against the ESKAPE pathogens. Our laboratory is currently working with the Quave Lab at Emory to identify novel antimicrobial molecules within these five species.

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