The misuse and overuse of antibiotics in human healthcare as well as agriculture has facilitated antimicrobial resistance. This global health challenge has made the discovery of new antibiotics an urgent matter and has renewed the scientific interest in alternatives to antibiotics. One promising option seems to be bacteriophage therapy—a process in which bacteriophage viruses are used to infect and destroy bacteria.

The Böttcher group with their experts in the development of new antibiotics and bacterial behavior, as well as the Weckwerth group providing technological capabilities and expertise will be tackling this topic together. The groups will take a closer look at natural products, which are some of the most productive sources of chemical inspiration in the field of therapeutic agent development. In the natural environment, plants use antimicrobial compounds in their roots as part of their defense system against pathogens. In their research, the research groups will try to find out if small molecules from root exudates can modulate prophage induction in human and environmental microbes.

Project Leader: Gina Porras Brenes, Department of Biological Chemistry,

Co-Pi’s: Wolfram Weckwerth and Palak Chaturvedi, Department of Functional and Evolutionary Ecology. Thomas Böttcher, Department of Microbiology and Ecosystem Science