Welcome to volume 2 of our Researcher Live series on Peptide Therapeutics: disease screening and drug design  (links to Vol. 1 recordings below) ! Sign up here to receive email reminders for this collection!


Join our third episode on 12th October at 10am BST / 9am GMT with Dr Kai Hilpert, St George's, University of London 


What are we going to talk about in this episode?


Antimicrobial resistance is a worldwide threat to modern health care. Low-profit margin and high risk of cross-resistance resulted in a loss of interest in big pharma, contributing to the increasing threat. Strategies to address the problem are starting to emerge. Novel antimicrobial compounds with novel modes of action are especially valued because they have a lower risk of cross-resistance. Up to now determining the mode of action has been very time and resource-consuming and will be performed once drug candidates were already progressed in preclinical development. BioSAXS is emerging as a new method to test up to thousands of compounds to classify them into groups based on ultra-structural changes that correlate to their modes of action.


First experiments in E. coli (gram-negative) have demonstrated that using conventional and experimental antimicrobials a classification of compounds according to their mode of action was possible. Results were backed up by transmission electron microscopy. Further work showed that also gram-positive bacteria (Staphylococcus aureus) can be used and the effects of novel antimicrobial peptides on both types of bacteria were studied. Preliminary experiments also show that BioSAXS can be used to classify antifungal drugs, demonstrated on Candida albicans. In summary, BioSAXS can accelerate and enrich the discovery of antimicrobial compounds from screening projects with a novel mode of action and hence de-risk the development of urgently needed antimicrobial drugs.


Series programme:


  • 14th September at 4pm BST / 3pm GMT - ‘Exploring hyperbranched peptide compounds in antimicrobial research’ with Dr Orode Aniejurengho, University of Essex Online


  • Date and time in September TBC - ‘Engineering novel beta-hairpin peptide therapeutics’ with Dr Priyanka Lahiri, Tufts University 


  • 12th October, 10am BST/9am GMT – BioSAXS – A Method To Accelerate And De-risk Antimicrobial Drug Development with Dr Kai Hilpert, St George's, University of London


If you'd like to present at your own Researcher Live event, please email kristine.lennie@researcher-app.com 


Please find the recording of our Peptide Therapeutics: disease screening and drug design Vol 1 series here:


 A Killer solution for vaginal candidiasis: New generation of antifungal peptides with Dr Miguel Fernández de Ullivarri, APC Microbiome Institute 


Peptide Hydrogel and Nanotubes for Drug Delivery and Biomaterial Applications with Dr Garry Laverty, Senior Lecturer at Queen’s University in Belfast

Date and Time
Wednesday, October 12, 2022
10:00 am BST / 09:00 am GMT
Speakers Avatar Dr Kai Hilpert, St George's, University of London

Dr Hilpert has 25 years of experience in the synthesis of peptide libraries, their screening, and consequent optimization of peptides. He trained with world-leading experts including Bob Hancock (leader in antimicrobial peptides), Frank Breitling (high-density peptide libraries) and Jens Schneider-Mergener (peptide libraries on cellulose).

Since 2003 Dr Hilpert has investigated the design and optimization of short antimicrobial peptides (9-13mers). He has published on this in high-impact journals including Nature Biotechnology, Nature Protocols, Biomaterials, and ACS Chemical Biology. Later, he showed that tethered AMPs can be used to protect implants from bacterial infections; his publications (Chem. Biol. and Biomaterials) are stimulating developments that make up a research field on their own.

Dr Hilpert works closely with the industry and has been director of a university spin-out company, TiKa Diagnostics Ltd for the last eight years. The company exploits synthetic peptides developed in his laboratory. Dr Hilpert was the first researcher to apply peptide libraries synthesized on cellulose membranes to investigate antimicrobial peptides (AMPs). He and his team have now synthesised and screened more than 10,000 antimicrobial peptides and are now moving the best candidates forward into preclinical development. They have focused on multidrug-resistant bacteria, mainly Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococci, E. coli and Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

Dr Hilpert has co-organised the International Meeting on Antimicrobial Peptides (IMAP) in London (twice), Leipzig and Graz. In 2016 this also served as a satellite meeting of the European Peptide Symposium (EPS) in Leipzig. In addition, he is co-author of the article Alternatives to antibiotics - a pipeline portfolio review. Published in Lancet Infectious Diseases, the article won the Elsevier Atlas Award.

DOI: 7lHDnZihbbu5iYUgMeHd_prepost_1

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