Salutary Scholars

Salutary Scholars: UNCA receives NIH award for medical research
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(Left) Ryan Steed; (Right) Amanda Wolfe.

Recently, professors and students in our neck of the woods have been researching antibiotic resistance with the aim of developing a new antibiotic tough enough to tackle diseases now resistant to modern medicine. A team of chemistry faculty and students at the University of North Carolina at Asheville have been studying a strain of bacteria called pseudomonas aeruginosa, an infection often dispersed in doctor’s offices, hospitals, and other health care environments that can be deadly to immuno-compromised patients. Their studies have been so promising that the National Institute of Health has awarded the program $380,000 in grants to further pursue their research.

The two professors leading the research project—Amanda Wolfe, GlaxoSmithKline Distinguished Professor in Molecular and Chemical Biology, and Ryan Steed, Assistant Professor of Chemistry—have been working with undergraduates on this project. According to Wolfe, most antibiotics combat disease by infiltrating bacterial cells, but the bacteria at hand has developed a defense mechanism to this kind of medication. With their current and future research, the team at UNCA hopes to create technology that can target a new, underprotected part of the cell—and save lives.