The Curiosity Podcast

The Microscopic Chemical Warfare Of Antibiotics

Research isn't always conducted in a laboratory. Dr. Brian T. Murphy runs a research program that takes him all around the world collecting aquatic microorganisms, en route to the discovery and development of new antibiotics. On this podcast, Dr. Murphy explains how antibiotics work and the importance of discovering new ones, as well as detailing some of the exotic underwater adventures involved in his line of work.

Ongoing projects in Dr. Murphy's lab merge the identification of small molecules with marine microbiology, molecular biology, genomics, and bioinformatics. To date, his lab has built a collection of over 1,500 aquatic bacteria and are using them to generate small molecule libraries that they screen against bacterial pathogens and cancers. The lab is also innovating the way drug discovery libraries are managed to make them more intuitive and efficient. Stream or download the podcast using the player below, or find the episode everywhere podcasts are found, including iTunes, Stitcher, and Gretta.

Microscopic Chemical Warfare

Dr. Murphy, Associate Professor of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy at University of Illinois at Chicago, discusses:

  • Why he and his colleagues are trying to discover new antibiotics from the environment.
  • Background on the "golden era" of antibiotic discovery and why it's a problem that more antibiotics aren't being discovered more regularly.
  • The importance of innovation in antibiotic research and the surprisingly outdated methods researchers in the field are still utilizing today.
  • Some of the adventures Dr. Murphy has had while working on discovering antibiotics, including underwater excursions in Iceland and upcoming plans in Vietnam.
  • How citizen scientists can collaborate with research labs to help discover new antibiotics.
  • The trick to learning organic chemistry the right way.

Plus, hear Cody and Dr. Murphy match each others' wits at the end of the episode in the Curiosity Challenge! Click here to follow along with a written transcript of this episode (and share clips with your friends).

Podcast Show Notes And Links

Dr. Brian T. Murphy

About the Curiosity Podcast: Curiosity makes you smarter – and so will this podcast. Each episode features experts in every field who explain why their knowledge is important and why you should care. Developed as an audio companion to the existing Curiosity experience, you'll learn about your brain and your body, outer space and the depths of the sea, how history shaped the world into what it is today, and more. From the largest galaxies to your smallest brain cells, hosts Cody Gough and Ashley Hamer will share their curiosity to help you understand the world better.

A device to usher in a new age of antibiotic drug discoveries

Written by Cody Gough September 5, 2017

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