The Chemical Biology programme at SCELSE focuses on identifying small molecules as modulators and probes to control and study bacterial biofilms. By screening synthetic chemical and natural product libraries against cell-based assays, we aim to discover novel small molecules that possess the ability to control bacterial signalling systems, namely quorum sensing networks and cyclic di-GMP signalling pathways, in bacteria.
We also aim to identify compounds that allow us to differentiate the biofilm mode of growth from the planktonic mode of growth. A structurally diverse, fluorescent chemical library is screened to pick out structures that interact with biofilm-specific surface proteins and macromolecules, including amyloids. These projects identify small molecular structures that can serve as leads for the development of anti-microbial probes and drugs.