Amanda Reid has received the prestigious Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Individual Predoctoral Fellowship (F31) from NIH. Here is an excerpt from her fellowship
"Alternative therapeutic targets have become a major topic in research with growing concerns over the alarming rate of antibacterial resistance. In contrast, many symbiotic bacteria that aid in human health prevent disease and are often inadvertently targeted with broad-spectrum antimicrobials. New therapeutic targets that selectively treat pathogenic, but not symbiotic bacteria, are highly valuable to balance the unique role they serve in human health. Bacterial surface polysaccharides are a crucial component to this host-microbe interaction, and underlie both disease and commensalism. These complex glycopolymers are highly unique in composition, even among the same bacterial species, and are not otherwise found in mammalian systems making them excellent therapeutic targets. The difficulty of studying these systems is the inherent complexity associated with glycopolymer composition coupled with the lack of elegant tools to ubiquitously characterize them. This hinders the ability to identify novel targets to inhibit these pathways, or methods to reconstruct glycopolymers for glyco-based vaccines. Robust probes that can be used to track the formation of these complex surface polysaccharides in vitro and in live cells are vital to exploiting them for therapeutic benefit. The use of tagged biomolecules has been invaluable in protein and nucleic acid biochemistry. Tagged sugar residues are the closest equivalent, however these do not preserve the native identity of the glycopolymer. We propose to expand the range of glycan based tools by chemoenzymatically installing tags on a critical anchor used during early polyscharride bioassembly, bactoprenyl diphosphate. Highly fluorescent and also click-enabled tags will greatly expand the range of glycopolymer applications to include low-level detection or facile addition of application-dependent moieties, such as biotinylation for immobilization, or tags to aid in characterization, such as signal enhancing mass spectrometry tags. These types of tagged substrates are also well suited to in vivo reconstitution of glycopolymers, as they occur in nature. Incorporation of these robust tools in live cell cultures is an excellent method to probe the dynamic assembly of critical surface polysaccharides and will facilitate the development of novel therapeutics to reproduce or disrupt these pathways."
More about the Amanda's award can be found here. Congratulations Amanda!