Despite progress in infection treatment in the last decades, the prevalence and mortality of infections still poses a heavy burden over humankind. The development of antimicrobial resistance and the rapid mutagenesis of bacteria that leads to inefficiency of vaccines, play an important role in maintaining infections high level of threat. Even diseases that have plagued us for centuries, such as cholera, still challenge medical professionals and cause a significant social cost. New therapeutic approaches that promise a higher success rate are a pressing need. We recently discovered peptides which bind and block the RTX adhesin (FrhA) used by the bacteria of cholera to attach to and infect the human intestine, suggesting these peptides could help prevent cholera’s infection. By blocking FrhA, these peptides could also potentially detach already adhered bacteria, effectively removing cholera and curing the disease. Moreover, FrhA is similar to the RTX adhesin of most gram-negative bacteria, including those in the priority list of the WHO (E. coli, K. pneumoniae). In this project you will optimise the synthesis and characterisation of the discovered peptides, and in collaboration with our partners demonstrate blockage of cholera adhesion in an in vitro cellular model. You will also explore whether a similar strategy is applicable to other infectious diseases.
For further information on this vacancy please contact
Prof. Dr. Ir. Ilja Voets, i.voets[at]tue.nl or +31 40 247 5303
For information about terms of employment, please contact Leo van Houten, l.v.houten[at]tue.nl or +31 40 247 8269
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