Dunham Group Publication in Nature Chemical Biology

Graduate student Ha An Nguyen of the Dunham Group recently published a News and Views article for the journal Nature Chemical Biology entitled, “Genome Mining: Digging the Tunnel for Chemical Space” based on a July article published in the same journal, “Klebsazolicin Inhibits 70S Ribosome by Obstructing the Peptide Exit Tunnel”.

In her review, Ha An summarizes the major findings of the Metelev et al. paper and emphasizes the value of genome mining in the discovery of new antimicrobials. “We previously thought we had beaten bacterial infections with ‘miracle drugs’ but if you look at the numbers from the CDC, at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die each year as a direct result of these infections in the United States alone,” Ha An says. “Techniques such as genome mining used in this paper can help sift through tons of sequencing data and can lead us to places we would have never thought of to look.”

Beyond its scientific contributions to the field, this manuscript held particular value to Ha An. “As a novice scientist, this paper on klebsazolicin provides a nice story of a scientific study that walks through the project from conception in silico and into the laboratory for mechanistic and structural investigation,” she says. “It also let me dip my toes into making figures of ribosomes structures, which I am hoping to do a lot of during my time in the Dunham lab to tease out the details of bacterial translation with atomic-level resolution.”

Gallivan Group Featured in the New York Times

A recent publication from the Gallivan Group has been featured in The New York Times. The article, “Reprogramming bacteria to seek and destroy an herbicide,” first appeared in the October 2009 issue of Nature Chemical Biology.

Scientists working in Georgia have engineered a common bacteria that will, in the lab, detect and seek out atrazine, a controversial herbicide sprayed over cornfields and sugar plantations across the United States.

[New York Times] [Nature Chemical Biology]

Update: The research described in these papers was subsequently retracted by the authors.