Sunday, November 24, 2013

Dr. Courtney Aldrich

Dr. Courtney Aldrich gave a lecture earlier this month about the design of antibiotics that target biotin metabolism. 

The impressive research conducted by Dr. Aldrich is based on the discovery of an antibiotic that will help cure patients of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. In order to do this Dr. Aldrich as targeted the biotin synthesis pathway. He's done this because biotin is important for cell wall synthesis in TB. By inhibiting the biotin pathway the bacteria is not able to replicate inside a host cell.  

Different methods are used to complete the research, but the common goal is to find a specific antibiotic which will inhibit the biotin pathway in mycobacterium tuberculosis. His team looks at compounds using a technique called whole-cell assay. If the sample shows multiple inhibitors, it is marked as a good antibiotic for his research. Dr. Aldrich also looked for specific enzymes in his samples. One was Bioenzyme A which was reduced through the loss of a carbonyl and the addition of a amine. 

I did not understand much of this lecture, I was really very shocked at how little I knew about what he was talking about. But I did see some stereochemistry in the powerpoints as well as the reduction mechanism I discussed above. The stereochemistry shown in the powerpoint related to how a compound could be two completely different things based on the way its groups were arranged. I gained insight into the world of biochemistry as well during this lecture and I believe it was a valuable experience. 


  1. Wow! Great synopsis for someone who didn't understand much of the lecture! Ha. I was also bewildered by his discussion but very impressed with what he seemed to know! I enjoyed your summary!

  2. I also attended this lecture and was also confused for a good portion of it. He did keep saying that some of the stuff was "sophomore organic chemistry" so hopefully that means we will learn it in Organic II. I was impressed as well by his knowledge! He has to have a very firm grasp of both microbiology and organic chemistry and both of these are challenging subjects.