With the ever-increasing spread of “superbugs” – antimicrobial-resistant microorganisms – and the sluggish pace of novel antibiotic discovery, there is a pressing need for immediate solutions to the looming global crisis of antibiotic resistance. Worldwide, an estimated 700,000 people die every year from MDR infections. The excessive use of antibiotics and lack of proper antibiotic stewardship in the past has facilitated the selection of multidrug resistant (MDR) bacteria in the population which are now resistant to even last resort antibiotics such as carbapenems and colistin. Despite the alarmingly increasing incidence in antibiotic resistance, there are limited options and strategies available to address this crisis, posing a very fatal and immediate threat for the treatment of even the most common infections. Our goal at the Microbial Active Genetics lab at ASBT is to study the molecular mechanisms of antibiotic resistance in nosocomial gram-negative pathogens, such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Klebsiellapneumoniae, and Acinetobacterbaumannii. Using phage biology and active genetics, we aim to target these multidrug resistant (MDR) bacteria to revert antibiotic resistant to antibiotic sensitive phenotypes.

Starting in 2018, the Microbial Active Genetics lab has been collaborating with the Tata Institute for Genetics and Society (TIGS) to combat MDR gram-negative pathogens. Our current focus is the characterization of bacteriophages and genome editing strategies to target MDR Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which is classified as a critical priority pathogen by WHO.

Project Funding : Tata Trust