Dr. Inanc Birol was awarded $6.9 million for a project that will employ genomics research to discover and develop antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) as alternatives to traditional antibiotics. Treating and preventing bacterial infections in animals is an essential part of agriculture. However, overuse and misuse of antibiotics has led to the development of antimicrobial resistance, an issue classified by the World Health Organization as one of the most urgent global health risks facing us today. AMPs are produced by some plant and animal species and have antimicrobial activity against a range of bacterial pathogens, showing great potential for use in the clinic and in agriculture. Using a genomics approach will accelerate the traditionally labour-intensive process of discovering novel AMPs. Dr. Birol’s team will build on their previous proof-of-concept research to scale-up their AMP discovery process. “We are building on many years of groundbreaking genomics research enabled by Genome Canada, Genome BC and other partners”, says Dr. Birol. The discovery and characterization of novel AMPs by Dr. Birol’s group has the potential to mitigate antimicrobial resistance issues in agriculture.

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