Developing New Approaches to Combat Antibiotic Resistance




Hard-to-treat and untreatable antimicrobial-resistant bacterial infections jeopardize the lives of patients, increase the cost of treatment, and threaten the use of certain medical and dental procedures. Yet, the number of new antibiotics in development is dangerously low.

Dr. Marcelo Tolmasky, professor of biological sciences, and his research team at Fullerton are devising agents that help prolong the effectiveness of currently available antimicrobials by interfering with 
the mechanisms that bacteria use to resist antibiotics. In particular, the team studies agents that might prevent resistance to a class of antibiotics known as aminoglycosides. The agents developed, when administered in combination with aminoglycoside antibiotics, would eliminate the bacteria’s ability to resist the action of the antibiotic, which would clear the infection.

The research team has clarified different aspects of the molecular mechanisms by which bacteria resist the action of aminoglycoside antibiotics and how the resistance traits disseminate among different pathogens. This knowledge is used by the team to design the combination therapies mentioned above that will permit them to successfully treat aminoglycoside-resistant infections.

The project has been funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health and the CSU Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology.  The research group engages in multidisciplinary collaborative subprojects with other groups in prestigious institutions across the world.

“Dr. Marcelo Tolmasky is an outstanding biomedical researcher who is passionate about science,” says Dr. Chandra Srinivasan, professor of biochemistry. “He has earned a global reputation for the work he is conducting on antibiotic resistance at CSUF.”