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NMR & Antibiotics

Our Research 

Lipid-targeting antibiotics

We are especially interested in the mechanisms of antibiotics that target special lipids that only exist in bacterial membranes, but not in human membranes. These antibiotics are powerful and kill a broad panel of drug-resistant bacteria. And since their lipid-targets are conserved and more difficult to modify than proteins, bacteria struggle to develop resistance against these antibiotics.

Examples are teixobactin, clovibactin, or plectasin that target the bacterial lipid 'Lipid II' and thereby block the bacterial cell wall synthesis.


Resolution across scales 


Many Lipid-targeting antibiotics use supramolecular mechanisms on the membrane surface. Studying supramolecular mechanism in membranes is a major technological challenge and requires the integration of methods that provide molecular information across length and time scales. To this end, by combining different spectroscopy and microscopy methods, we have recently developed a multidisciplinary approach to study these antibiotics. Most of the methods are done in-house, or we are involved in strong collaborative networks. We also have strong expertise in lipid biochemistry.


Solid-state NMR

Solid-state NMR is a spectroscopy method that is uniquely suited to provide structural information on small drugs in native membranes, even in intact cells. Moreover, the methods is non-invasive and does not require bulky labels.

We are proud to be part of one of Europe's most powerful NMR facilities. We have access to several very high-field NMR machines, including a spectacular 1.2 GHz NMR machine. We also have access to DNP-ssNMR setups.


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