Research Assistant: Antisense Peptide Nucleic Acid as New Generation of Precise AntibioticSummer Course

Major Discipline(s)
Chemistry / Biochemistry, Biology, Biomedicine / Biotechnology
Location: Copenhagen
Labs, Research, & Practicums Session

Antibiotics prevent millions of deaths each year and remain the primary treatment for potentially fatal bacterial infections. Yet inappropriate prescription rates and overuse of antibiotics have led to resistance that has created a global health emergency and kills at least 700,000 people a year. If no action is taken, it is predicted to increase to 10 million deaths per year by 2050.

Our attempt is to develop a new generation of precise antibiotics that kill only the target pathogenic bacteria without affecting the beneficial and commensal bacteria in the body.

The overall aim of our current projects is to establish a discovery platform that focuses on peptide-based antibiotics by exploiting unleashed advantages of peptides that interact with the bacterial envelope. Discovery of leads, therapeutic strategies, and antibiotic targets useful for treatment of multidrug-resistant Gram-negative infections, and elucidation of mechanism of action are core activities.

In particular, the antisense antibacterial concept and novel peptide carriers for efficient delivery of potential antibacterial compounds with inherently poor bacterial uptake will be explored.

Candidates should have a strong interest in lab work and be motivated to develop new skills including culturing bacteria in different condition, measuring peptide nucleic acid concentration and testing minimum inhibitory and bactericidal concentrations of antibacterial peptide in bacteria.

Research Assistantship Hours 

You will spend 180 hours directly engaged in research, together with 20 hours in co-curricular activities, during your RAship.   

Field Studies: Culture & Language 

As a co-curricular complement to your summer research, you will meet every Wednesday, together with faculty from the DIS European Humanities program, for a 6-week introduction to culture and language in Copenhagen.  


Research Mentor Publications

Yavari, N., Goltermann, L., Nielsen, Peter E (2021). Uptake, Stability, and Activity of Antisense Anti-acpP PNA-Peptide Conjugates in Escherichia coli and the Role of SbmA. ACS Chemical Biology 16,3, 471-479.

Goltermann, L., Yavari, N., Zhang, M., Ghosal A., Nielsen, Peter E (2019). PNA Length Restriction of Antibacterial Activity of Peptide-PNA Conjugates in Escherichia coli Through Effects of the Inner Membrane. Frontiers in Microbiology (10).

Good, L., Awasthi, S., Dryselius, R., Larsson, O., Nielsen, Peter E (2001). Bactericidal antisense effects of peptide–PNA conjugates. Nat Biotechnol (19), 360–364.

Related Discipline(s)

This summer course would also be of interest to the following discipline(s):
Pre-Medicine / Health Science