Antibiotic resistance is a serious health problem worldwide. The frequent and improper use of antibiotics has led to the emergence of antibiotic-resistant pathogens, for instance Staphylococcus aureus, Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Gram-negative bacteria such as Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Klebsiella pneumoniae. The escalating prevalence of antibiotic resistance is driving the need for new antimicrobial drugs.
My research project focuses on the isolation and characterization of bacteria with antimicrobial activities, under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Clemente Michael Wong Vui Ling at Biotechnology Research Institute, Universiti Malaysia Sabah. I am particularly interested in Actinobacteria, which are known to be the greatest producers of antibiotics.
In recent years, the rate of discovering novel biologically active compounds has greatly declined. Microorganisms isolated from many tropical and temperate environments were reported to produce similar or known compounds. This triggers our curiosity towards unexplored or under exploited environments for new groups of Actinobacteria or novel bioactive metabolites.
We aim to discover novel antimicrobial compounds or unique toxin-antitoxin systems from unusual environment in Antarctica, which serve as an enhanced alternative compared to the currently available antibiotics in many medical and biotechnological applications.
Instituto Antártico Chileno (INACH) is a well-equipped institution which is actively involved in Antarctic research. It is located at Punta Arenas, the capital city in the southernmost region of Chile. It is a national institution established by the Chilean government in 1963 in charge of planning and coordinating scientific activities in the Chilean Antarctic Territory. INACH also organizes and leads its own scientific expedition to the Antarctica every year.
The main building of INACH which is at the city centre of Punta Arenas