Addressing Antimicrobial Resistance: Exploring Novel Antimicrobial Peptides as Alternatives to Antibiotics in a Collaborative Indo-German Study
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a grave global concern, posing a significant threat to human health. Experts predict that by 2050, the world could witness a staggering 10 million deaths annually due to the rise of drug-resistant pathogens. Consequently, it becomes imperative to explore novel strategies and alternatives to traditional antibiotics. In this regard, biocompatible antimicrobial peptides offer promising prospects, boasting high effectiveness and minimal side effects. Recognizing their potential, a new collaborative initiative between India and Germany has emerged under the umbrella of CRC 1279. The primary objective of this venture is to screen peptide libraries derived from human bodily fluids and organs to discover innovative antimicrobial peptides (AMPs).
Dr. Puja Yadav, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Microbiology at the Central University of Haryana, Mahendergarh, India, will spearhead this effort in collaboration with Prof. Dr. Barbara Spellerberg. A total of ten women researchers from India and two from Germany holding regular/long-term research positions were selected under the WISER-2023 programme. The project receives support from the Women Involvement in Science and Engineering Research (WISER) program, a joint initiative by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Department of Science and Technology (DST) of the Government of India (GoI). WISER aims to foster scientific capacity, encourage the participation of women researchers, and provide them with opportunities for growth and promotion.
Dr. Yadav has already made significant contributions to the field of infectious diseases on both national and international fronts. After completing her Ph.D. at Jamia Millia Islamia in New Delhi, India, in 2009, where she focused on investigating the role of pili proteins in bacterial pathogenesis, Dr. Yadav pursued her first post-doctoral fellowship at the Children's Hospital of Harvard Medical School. Subsequently, she undertook a second post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. Dr. Yadav has been the recipient of numerous prestigious fellowships and awards, including the esteemed SIRE (SERB-International Research Fellowship) in 2022. Her research primarily revolves around antibiotic resistance, biofilm formation, and the impact of DNA secondary structures on bacterial pathogenesis. Recently, Dr. Yadav's laboratory discovered increased penicillin resistance and alterations in biofilm formation among Indian isolates of Streptococcus agalactiae (GBS), a human pathogen. As a result, the collaborative grant's primary objective is to identify endogenous human peptides that can hinder biofilm formation and impede bacterial growth in GBS isolates. Ultimately, this collaborative effort aspires to develop new antimicrobial peptides that can alleviate the global burden of antibiotic usage.