Pioneering Antibiotics and Fungicides: An Interview With Christopher Reid


ICT speaks with Christopher Reid, PhD, a biological and biomedical Sciences professor, delving into his investigations on antibiotics and fungicides and how his team's investigations will "provide an extra tool in a clinician's" toolbox for treating bacterial fungal infections."

Christopher Reid, PhD, biological and biomedical sciences professor at Bryant University, in Smithfield, Rhode Island, is a leading figure in drug-resistant bacteria and fungi research. His antibiotic and fungicide investigations show great potential for enhancing patient care. Reid and his students presented their groundbreaking research this summer at 2 events, including the 2023 Northeast Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society (NERM 2023) and the New England Glyco-Chemistry Meeting at Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts.

Christopher Reid, PhD  (Photo courtesy of Christopher Reid, PhD)

Christopher Reid, PhD

(Photo courtesy of Christopher Reid, PhD)

Reid's fungicide development collaboration with Brown University holds the key to combating Candida infections, particularly among vulnerable populations like newborns in NICUs. Reid's work is further supported by Bryant University's state-of-the-art laboratory facilities and extensive collaborative network in Rhode Island. During his conversation with Infection Control Today® (ICT®), Reid spoke about his work with antibiotics and fungicides, what surprised him about his team’s findings, and the advice he would give to those who would like to go into infection prevention.

Reid told ICT about this current investigation: "At the moment, we have been focusing on we focus on gram-positive pathogens, but we saw that those are things that would be like bacterial pneumonia. [Also] we've been exploring and developing antibiotics for mycobacteria. So think of organisms that cause tuberculosis, as well as now exploring and trying to take our identified compound, and see if we can [see] if it works against organisms, such as Escherichia coli and other basic kinds of trying to aim for organisms targeting organisms that have some clinical indication of resistance problems.”

One aspect of this study that surprised Reid was “For antibacterial work probably the most surprising thing is, [that] we took a little bit different approach to targeting the bacteria and right so most people would be familiar with taking penicillins. Those halt bacterial growth by preventing the assembly of the bacterial skeleton, the cell wall. Our approach is a little bit different; instead of targeting how it is assembled, we work on targeting proteins and enzymes that are involved in breaking it down. Our compounds work by inhibiting enzymes that would normally make space for building out the cell wall, kind of like a home renovation. Right before you add a second story to your home, you must take out the old material before you can attach the new frame to the existing structure. This is kind of how these proteins work with them, when they don't function, it prevents the new material from being properly put into the cell wall and be able to withstand and take on the stress that the cell is experiencing.”

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