In this section, you can find brief descriptions of our current and past projects.
CARE-FIBRA - Combating Antimicrobial Resistance: Finland-Brazil Partnership for Education and Awareness

CARE-FIBRA is a joint Finland and Brazil (University of Goiás and University of Amazonas) educational initiative on antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The project aims to bring knowledge through actions on the awareness of appropriate use and disposal of antimicrobials. Our audience will be students of different educational levels, professionals in Life Sciences and vulnerable communities. To achieve these objectives, we will supplement the curriculum of undergraduate and postgraduate courses with biosafety contents related to the prescription, use and disposal of medicines and overall situation on AMR. By promoting seminars to healthcare professionals, this project will reinforce knowledge in AMR and enhance their preparedness. Furthermore, through the mobility of students and staff, this project will strengthen collaboration between higher education institutes and foster new ideas for future networking. During the community work basic hygiene concepts and safe-drinking water topics will be addressed together with antibiotic usage and disposal. Through planned actions and monitoring programs, this project will directly improve the public health and wellbeing of the community. (TFK programme, project number 185/220/2023, 2023 – 2025) 

SPRINGBOARD for excellence in advanced development of antibacterials

SPRINGBOARD is funded by the European Union Research and Innovation programme Horizon 2020 under the Twinning call Spreading excellence and widening participation (Grant no. 951883, 2020-2023). The main goal of the project is to strengthen the research potential of the Latvian Institute for Organic Synthesis (LIOS) in the field of advanced discovery and design of novel antibacterial drugs through establishing a sustainable and long-term collaboration with leading counterparts – University of Antwerp, University of Copenhagen, University of Florence and University of Helsinki. The coordinator of this project is Professor Raivis Žalubovskis from LIOS.

NO-ESCAPE - Evolving the next generation of Gram-negative antimicrobials through a synergetic approach encompassing medicinal chemistry, microbiology and nanomedicine tools

The rapid emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance is leading us to dramatic post-antibiotic scenarios where life-threatening infections are reality for increased numbers of patients. Thereby, there is an urgent need worldwide for action plans incorporating higher levels of public and private investment to develop new effective antibiotics. Infections caused by Gram-negative bacteria occupy the top of WHO’s list describing pathogens that are most critical for development of new antibacterials due to their prominent prevalence in hospital-acquired infections and multi-drug resistance. Our project aims to develop next generation antibiotics against Gram-negative bacteria through a holistic approach entailing seamless co-operation of multidisciplinary research teams of experts in medicinal chemistry, microbiology, molecular dynamics, in silico modelling and nanomedicine.  This projects is funded by the Academy of Finland Grant no. 321551 (2019-2023).

RESET-ME - Restoring E. coli Sensitivity for Antibiotics by blocking TolC-Mediated Efflux

Overexpression of efflux pumps is a major factor for drug resistance in Gram-negative bacteria. In E. coli, the AcrAB-TolC efflux pump complex transports antibiotics from the periplasm or cytoplasm into the external medium. As TolC deletion has been shown to result in increased susceptibilities of E. coli to several antibiotics, it may represent an attractive drug target. Building on our previous results, we focus on development of novel TolC blockers within an interdisciplinary consortium, coordinated by Fraunhofer IME. The project workflow includes compound modifications by medicinal chemistry, assessment of TolC binding and blockage using SPR and electrophysiology, various antimicrobial studies and ADMETox profiling. Novel small molecules blocking TolC will be identified and optimised using the same experimental platform, starting with virtual screening for identification of novel compounds targeting TolC. Ultimately, this approach will allow to assess TolC target validity for adjuvants in antimicrobial therapies and result in potent TolC blockers that may be further developed into drugs restoring E. coli susceptibility to antibiotics. This project is funded by the 6th transnational call for the JPIAMR within the ERA-NET JPI-EC-AMR (Academy of Finland Grant no. 326261, 2019-2022).  Further details

Phenotypic biosensor-based HTS and mode of action analysis for enhancing antimicrobial drug discovery against Gram-negative bacteria

Novel compounds with potential antimicrobial properties are continuously discovered, for example from natural products, but in many cases found activities are not being characterised beyond the initial discovery phase. In this project, our aim was to develop predictive and efficient tools for the antibacterial screening process and follow-up studies. This project was funded by the Academy of Finland (2014-2019, Academy of Finland Fellowship).

Research outputs

INTEGRATE - Inter­disciplinary Train­ing Net­work for Val­id­a­tion of Gram-neg­at­ive An­ti­bac­terial Tar­gets

The INTEGRATE training framework was built on an innovative research project aimed at targeting important but non-essential gene products as an effective means of reducing bacterial fitness, thereby facilitating clearance of the pathogen by the host immune system. To achieve this, the individual work programmes were designed to seamlessly inter-mesh contributions from the fields of in silico design, organic synthesis, molecular biology and biochemistry, and the very latest in vitro and in vivo screening technologies. This project was funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 642620 (2014-2018).

New an­ti­mi­cro­bi­als against Gram-pos­it­ive bac­teria

In this project, we aimed to fully explore the antibacterial potential of natural product –based synthetic compounds that were found to display highly promising activity against Gram-positive bacteria. The project was funded by the Academy of Finland (2016-2018, Key project).