Dr POH Wee Han
Research Fellow
Biofilm Biology cluster, SCELSE

Supervisor: A/Prof. Scott A Rice

Project Title: Mechanisms and application of NO induced dispersal 

In Pseudomonas aeruginosa, low levels of nitric oxide (NO) is able to induced biofilm dispersal via an increase in phosphodiesterase (PDE) activity. At present, PDEs like DipA and RbdA have been implicated in playing a role in NO-induced dispersal. However, how they sense NO is not clearly understood. Wee Han’s project aims to look into whether and how these PDEs interact with NO through structural and enzymatic studies. Secondly, low levels of NO renders P. aeruginosa biofilm cells more susceptible to antibiotics like tobramycin. Using biofilm dispersing NO-donor compounds with antibiotics could hence be a promising strategy for treating drug-resistant biofilm infections. Cephalosporin diazeniumdiolates selectively release NO upon reaction with bacteria-specific B-lactamases in vitro. She aims to further investigate the application of this compound in dispersing biofilms in vivo using mouse models.