Head: Prof. Dr. Heike Brötz-Oesterhelt
Welcome to the Department of Microbial Bioactive Compounds
Bacterial resistance to antibiotics spreads at an alarming rate worldwide and has developed against every clinically applied antibiotic. New antibiotics devoid of cross-resistance to established antibiotic classes are urgently needed in order to avert the looming threat of a post-antibiotic era.
At the Department of Microbial Bioactive Compounds, we study novel antibacterial agents, predominately bacterial and fungal products from various origins and geographic locations. Microbial natural products are privileged structures for antibiotic discovery as they emerged in a long period of co-evolution between antibiotic-producing strains and bacterial target species.
We perform fundamental research to find novel antibacterial agents, to elucidate their structures, to understand their biosynthesis, to optimize their production and to elucidate their mechanisms of action. We use antibiotics as tools to obtain new insights into molecular bacterial physiology, of compound producing cells in the process of making bioactive agents and of the targets cells when being exposed to them. With an applied interest, we characterize new antibacterial agents to serve as lead structures for antibiotic development.