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Sunil Kumar M

Sunil Kumar

Senior Science & Innovation Adviser

Part of Global Science and Innovation Network

30th July 2014 Bangalore, India

Anti-microbial resistance research at JNCASR

Anti-microbial resistance (AMR) is a huge concern globally and the day when common ailments and minor injuries can kill someone is not far away. The recent WHO report (AMR Global Report on Surveillance) also provides data on the very high rates of resistance in common bacteria such as E.coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Staphylococcus aureus. These bacteria are known to cause common health-care associated and community-acquired infections. You may read more about AMR and the workshops that we are hosting in my colleague’s blog.

I recently visited the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research in Bangalore to understand the research in AMR that the institute is undertaking. I met Dr. Jayanta Haldar at the Chemical Biology and Medicinal Chemistry Laboratory Group. This group is heavily involved in understanding AMR and creating novel anti-microbial agents for treating infectious disease. Some of their novel work includes developing next generation antibiotics by chemically modifying existing ones such as Vancomycin, penicillin and aminoglycosides. The group also works on synthetic mimics of anti-microbial peptides which can be used as therapeutics.

Jayanta’s group is working on a multipronged approach to combat AMR. He says that it is very important to integrate several disciplines such as organic chemistry and material science with biology to combat infectious diseases, especially considering that AMR can have a significant impact on health of people across the globe. His lab works on fundamental understanding of material-pathogen interaction and development of innovative strategies that will provide solutions in tackling infections. Additionally, the group is also developing nanotechnology based smart drug delivery systems for addressing nonspecific action and toxicity related issues of existing drugs for indications like infectious diseases and cancer.

Recently, Jayanta and his team consisting of Venkateswarlu Yarlagadda, Padma Akkapeddi and Goutham Manjunath developed a novel drug that disrupts the cell membrane of the bacteria unlike conventional drugs such as Vancomycin which stick to the bacterial cell wall and prevent it from growing. The findings were reported in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. A patent has also been filed in India, US, Australia, Canada, Europe and South Korea. The group is currently on the lookout for pharma companies who are interested in carrying out clinical trials and marketing the drug. The lab has also filed patents for 6 other inventions in the area of AMR.

The group is also developing an unique biodegradable polymer based material that have anti-microbial activity. These can be used for biomedical applications such as coating the inside walls of a hospital to prevent spread of hospital acquired infections.

This year one of the focus areas of the UK Science and Innovation Network in India is to build collaborations between UK and India in the area of anti-microbial resistance. We are hosting a couple of workshops in India on this issue. You can read more about it here. If you are working on AMR and Drug Discovery, please drop a line to me or my colleague Sheryl. We are keen to hear more about it.

2 comments on “Anti-microbial resistance research at JNCASR

  1. Dear Sunil

    I read your Blog on AMR recently (Swati Saxena highlighted this to me) with great interest. I work as a Research Leader at The Institute of Food Research in Norwich and have interest in a number of AMR related projects including antimicrobial peptides (bacteriocins), phage and phage derived products for targeting gut pathogens and am looking for potential Indian partners for possile joint funding applications.


    Arja Narbad

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About Sunil Kumar

Sunil leads on developing research collaborations in Advanced Engineering, Information and Communication Technologies and space. He has varied interests ranging from aerospace, environmental sciences, media to life-sciences. He has a…

Sunil leads on developing research collaborations in Advanced Engineering, Information and Communication Technologies and space. He has varied interests ranging from aerospace, environmental sciences, media to life-sciences. He has a MSc in Environmental Science and diplomas in Environmental Law and Mass Communication. Sunil has a work experience of 17 years. He started his career working on ant ecology at Indian Institute of Science. Later he worked on areas such as conservation practices, protected areas and water pollution at the Centre for Environment Education. He also worked as a journalist at Deccan Herald writing on science and environment. Sunil has also worked on knowledge management with an IT company. Prior to joining the Science and Innovation Network, Sunil worked with UK Trade and Investment as a lead officer for the aerospace sector. Sunil has authored two books and more than 200 popular articles.

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