21 febbraio 2024 Aula A - ore 9:00
Metal Complexes as Antibiotics – Some Promising Beginnings and Insights on How They Work
Dr. Angelo Frei
Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
While current antibiotics are failing with increasing rates, the pipeline for new effective drugs is sparse with <50 compounds in clinical trials as of 2021. In comparison, there are over 1000 drugs in clinical trials for the treatment of cancer. As conventional approaches to bacterial infections are failing to provide novel and effective drugs, alternative treatment modalities need to be considered. Over the last decade, metal-based compounds (metalloantibiotics), have gained attention as potential new antimicrobial agents.
In this talk I will highlight how our work has recently shown that libraries of metal complexes out-perform purely organic molecules as both antibacterial and antifungal agents. I will also showcase some of the new classes of metalloantibiotics we have discovered in the last few years. Lastly, I will show how we are starting to elucidate how these metal compounds elicit their biological effects and what we can to with this knowledge.
Dr. Angelo Frei is a Junior Group Leader at the University of Bern in Switzerland. He studied Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Zurich, where he did his Master Thesis with Prof. Gilles Gasser working on ruthenium polypyridyl complexes as photosensitizers for photodynamic therapy. He got his PhD in 2018 with Prof. Roger Alberto on the development of multifunctional cyclopentadiene ligands for theranostic applications. For his first postdoc he was awarded a Swiss National Science Foundation Early.Postdoc Mobility Fellowship to join the group of Prof. Mark Blaskovich at the University of Queensland in Australia. There he started investigating metal complexes as potential antimicrobial agents. In 2020 he joined the group of Prof. Nicholas Long at Imperial College in London to work on novel radioimaging agents for cancer and bacterial infections before being awarded a SNSF Ambizione Fellowship at the University of Bern in 2022. His research interests involve the exploration of metal-containing compounds as antimicrobial agents and the investigation of their mechanism of action.