Professor Helen Blackwell and Colleagues Identify Chemicals That Interrupt A. baumannii Quorum Sensing

Professor Helen Blackwell’s work with A. baumanni, a microbial pathogen, recently has been featured in the news. Once these bacteria gather together and reach a critical mass, they form biofilms that can coat medical equipment such as catheters and breathing tubes. Dr. Blackwell and her colleagues recently published an online-first article, “Attenuation of Quorum Sensing in the Pathogen Acinetobacter baumannii Using Non-native N-Acyl Homoserine Lactones,” for ACS Chemical Biology that examines how certain small molecule chemicals can interrupt A. baumanni’s chemical signaling; this interruption precludes the microbe from forming biofilms. The group’s work holds great promise for the many individuals who die from infections caused by the microbe.

Read the Wisconsin State Journal article, “Chemical agents wage war against bacteria.”

Read a College of Letters & Science News & Notes article titled “Chemistry professor identifies chemical to thwart stubborn pathogen.”