1 December

Thesis Defense Xudong Ouyang: “Witnessing the Process of Bacterial Cell Death”

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Xudong Ouyang, from the group of Jeroen den Hertog, successfully defended his thesis “Witnessing the Process of Bacterial Cell Death: Novel Antimicrobials and their Mechanisms of Action” on 23 November 2021. Together with his colleagues, Ouyang developed a new strategy for the discovery of antimicrobial agents. They discovered several interesting antimicrobial molecules and provide detailed descriptions of the antimicrobial properties of two of them.

Antimicrobial agents are substances that can be used to kill or inhibit the growth of micro-organisms such as bacteria and fungi. They are therefore important for the treatment of infections caused by these microbes. However, these therapies have also contributed to antimicrobial resistance: microbes can change over time and, as a result, no longer respond to medication. Therefore, there is a strong need for novel antimicrobials with new mechanisms of action.

New antimicrobials

During his PhD, Xudong Ouyang and his colleagues developed a new strategy for the discovery of antimicrobial molecules, including a screening method for antimicrobials sourced from fungi. Additionally, they developed an imaging approach to study the mechanisms of action of these new agents. With this new strategy, the researchers discovered several interesting antimicrobial molecules and provide a detailed description of the antimicrobial properties of two of them: BAB and HA. BAB turned out to affect the energy metabolism of bacteria. HA targets the membranes of bacterial cells and could be a candidate for clinical application.

Waiting game

“It was very interesting to do a PhD,” Ouyang says. “It’s not only about working hard, it’s also kind of like a waiting game: you never know the results until you are finished. I have learned a lot during the past four years, especially being patient. Finally, I completed my PhD, by working hard and patiently waiting,” he concludes.

picture xudong ouyang

 

 

Xudong Ouyang is orientating himself towards a postdoc- or teaching position at a Chinese college.