The seminar I attended earlier this month gave me some really interested insight into how organic chemistry provides the basis for the art of chemically engineering medicine to target biotin metabolism. The guest Speaker, Dr. Courtney Aldrich received his PhD from the University of Minnesota and had the privilege of working overseas in Germany on a joint venture between the US and Germany. Dr. Aldrich’s focus or main contributions to medicinal science are in the synthesis of new antibiotics for tuberculosis.
Before hopping directly into his material Dr. Aldrich briefly discussed the mechanistic origins of antibiotics. He showed us a very fascinating chart on the different types of antibiotics and to much dismay pointed out that there is still today a lull in the discovery era of antibiotics. The last antibiotic had been discovered back in 1987 over twenty years ago. This lapse in antibiotic discovery is known as the “discovery void”. Dr. Aldrich then went on to explain how antibiotics were mechanistically designed and created. The two distinct ways antibiotics are developed are biased-target based in which researchers focus on specific enzymes in the pathway or phenotype whole-cell screening which he explained would be the method by which the majority of future antibiotics would be discovered. Much of Dr. Aldrich’s research has been based on the first of these two methods. Dr. Aldrich strongly believes that targeting specific Bio enzyme A in the biotin pathway will some how provide that road block to tuberculosis. This would most certainly be an astonishing feat and i really feel honored to be able to get a glimpse into a future scientific breakthrough.