This funding will support a three-year project which seeks to develop novel antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) that target multi-drug resistant bacteria.
Dr Cochrane's work centres on the study of new antimicrobial compounds and targets. Antimicrobial resistance is one of the most significant challenges facing our generation, due to the ability for bacteria to relentlessly develop new ways to protect themselves against antibiotic drugs, in turn making infections much harder to treat.
Dr Cochrane's lab will work on areas related to the development of novel AMPs that have strong activity against multi-drug-resistant Gram-negative bacteria - a class of bacteria that are much harder to kill as the have an additional cell membrane, giving them protection against many current antibiotic medicines. The AMPs that Dr Cochrane and his team are producing have shown notable activity against Gram-negative organisms that are resistant to colistin, a current "last resort" antibacterial. Therefore, these AMPs could be excellent antibiotic candidates and have a future as medical infection treatments. Dr Cochrane's project aims to develop new versions of these agents that are more stable, easier to prepare and have enhanced antimicrobial activity. His work will also determine how these substances kill bacteria, which provides additional, yet key information required to allow these substances to be used as antibiotic drugs.
Speaking about this project, and his funding award, Dr Cochrane said:
“Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are currently the vanguard of novel antimicrobial compounds. They have a number of benefits, including the ability to target dormant and slow-growing bacteria, as well as being less susceptible to resistance development than small molecule antibiotics. We’re very excited to receive EPSRC funding, which we hope will lead to novel antibiotic candidates that could help combat MDR infections in a clinical setting.”