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Developing new strategies to combat antimicrobial drug resistance

An international study of human defence molecules, from Birkbeck, University of London and Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, may help tackle this global health challenge.

Scientists look at samples in their research into combating antimicrobial drug resistance

New research led by Birkbeck’s Professor Sanjib Bhakta and Professor Ester Boix from Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona offers new hope in the fight against bacterial infections and the rise of antimicrobial drug resistance in tuberculosis (TB), a devastating infectious disease which presents a major global health challenge.

Human defence molecules play a considerable role in combatting foreign germs, which the researchers say could be harnessed to develop new treatments with antibiotic properties which work in multifaceted ways. The researchers suggest this could contribute to a significant reversal of antibiotic resistance.

This new study suggests that better understanding of the mechanisms of human endogenous peptides should guide the design of new anti-tubercular drugs. Crucially, the authors revealed a biological role for human antimicrobial molecules to tackle bacterial infections, such as TB, which could set the basis for the design of new antibiotics.

Bhakta is Professor of Molecular Microbiology and Biochemistry at Birkbeck’s Department of Biological Sciences and Head of the ISMB Mycobacteria Research Laboratory.

He said: “The missions of the ISMB, which conducts world-class research to further our understanding of global infectious diseases, and Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, which is internationally renowned for its quality and innovation in scientific research, are closely aligned.

“We believe integration of interdisciplinary research is vital if the world is to address the key health issues which transcend beyond national borders – and drug resistance is key among these. We look forward to continue working with European partners as we explore programmes and projects where we can work together to advance our mutual goals in tackling such global challenges.” 

Further Information

Professor Bhakta teaches on the following courses and modules:



  • MSc Microbiology, MRes Global Infectious Diseases
  • MSc Bio-Business
    • Future Health Technologies
    • Dissertation: Bio-business
    • Antimicrobials
    • Medical Bacteriology
    • Research Methods in Microbiology
    • MSc and MRes Research Projects and Dissertation

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