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New Antibiotics for Superbugs

Raised toward our $5,000 Goal
76 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on April 30, at 12:00 AM MST
Project Owners

New Antibiotics for Superbugs

The rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria is a worldwide problem with no immediate solution. Multiple drug resistant ""superbugs"" cause approximately 2 million infections annually and at least 20,000 people die each year. One of the most widespread ""superbugs"" is methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA for short, that causes a multitude of infections, including pneumonia, skin infections, and implant infections. To make matters worse, S. aureus can form biofilms that grow on surfaces and are virtually impossible to treat.  Our group has developed new molecules that kill MRSA in cell culture and we want to test them against MRSA biofilms.  Our goal is to raise $5,000 to perform these tests against MRSA biofilms.  These experiments will provide the critical data we need to secure long term funding for this project and seed collaborations with other MRSA researchers as we work to develop new MRSA antibiotics. 


The Problem 

One of the most common antibiotic resistant pathogens is S. aureus and it is estimated that 25 - 30% of the population is colonized with MRSA. The bacteria is spread by contact or through open wounds and is frequently spread amongst athletes, who share common training equipment, and amongst nursing home patients. This form of community acquired MRSA has genetic mutations that enable it to degrade entire classes of antibiotics.  However, MRSA can also increase its antibiotic resistance when it attaches to surfaces and covers itself with a protective layer of protein and DNA called a biofilm. This is shown in the image below of normal S. aureus cells and those within a biofilm. This barrier prevents antibiotics from reaching the bacteria underneath and bacteria in the biofilm can be up to a 1000 times more antibiotic resistant. These persistent infections are almost impossible to cure and are a major problem for medical devices, such as catheters or joint implants. For example, when a joint implant develops a S. aureus biofilm, often the only treatment is removal of the joint.


Our solution

Our research group is working to develop new antibiotics that are effective treatments for superbugs. We have developed a new antibiotic discovery technology and have used it to make new compounds that kill antibiotic resistant MRSA. Our system discovers molecules that target the surface of the bacteria which should produce antibiotics that are difficult to develop resistance to. Another unique property of our molecules is that they kill both rapidly growing and slow growing S. aureus, which is different than most antibiotics which target rapidly growing bacteria. We believe that because our molecules can kill slow growing S. aureus that they could also be active against slow growing bacteria in biofilms. 



Get Involved

1. Support our project! Our goal is to raise $5,000 to advance the development of these compounds for the treatment of MRSA biofilms. These funds will be used to generate new data and make new connections in the field that will help us turn this seed funding into long term project funding. This seed funding is critical as we work to advance our compounds that work at the lab bench into new antibiotics that work at the hospital bedside. 


2. Wash your hands! One of the most simple and effective ways you can help is to wash your hands.  Hand washing with soap and water kills bacteria and helps stops the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria.


3. Learn more

Antibiotic Crisis




Synbody Antibiotic Technology

Choose a giving level


Team Member

A $25 contribution helps purchase supplies to support our ongoing research.



A $100 contribution helps accelerate the project by supporting undergraduate researchers. Contributors of $100 or more will receive a quarterly update on our research progress.



A $500 contribution helps secure future support by funding critical proof-of-concept experiments that demonstrate the capabilities of our antibiotic candidates.



A $1,000 contribution helps fully support our efforts to build compounds that kill MRSA. Patron level support helps fund collaborations with other MRSA researchers that can rapidly advance our project.

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