New antibiotics could save millions from infections

Unless antibiotics are further developed, 10 million people will die of infections every year by 2050, says Päivi Tammela, professor of pharmaceutical biology.

What are your research topics?

My research is aimed at finding new microbial drugs, especially from natural substances or derivatives based on natural substances.

My colleagues and I are particularly focused on developing new, increasingly efficient tools and techniques, in addition to which we are investigating potential new sites of action in bacteria.

Where and how does the topic of your research have an impact?

The capacity of bacteria to resist the currently available antibiotics is increasing at an accelerating rate. Infections caused by multiresistant bacteria, or bacteria that are able to resist a range of therapies, are already routine in our healthcare system. When resistance spreads among infectious bacteria, treatment becomes more difficult and prolonged.

If we don’t take immediate steps, predictions show that the infectious disease situation will become catastrophic. Should the worst predictions come to pass, 10 million people will die of infections every year by 2050.

Glimmers of hope for the future can be generated through the increasingly calculated consumption of antibiotics and investment in the development of novel antibiotics.

What is particularly inspiring in your field right now?

The astounding qualities of bacteria – in spite of being single-celled and essentially simple organisms, they are peerless in terms of their adaptive ability, and even capable of communication.


Päivi Tammela is a professor of pharmaceutical biology at the Faculty of Pharmacy.

Get to know the other new professors.