Remarkable discovery against antibiotic resistance in UdeS – News – Université de Sherbrooke

If nothing is done to prevent antibiotic resistance, 50 million people could die from bacterial infections every year from 2050. According to the journal Québec Science, the solution proposed by biology professor Sebastien Rodrigue and his team is so promising that it could become the biggest infection ever. A significant Quebec discovery of 2022.

To solve this major health problem, Professor Rodrigue and his team have developed a technology that can change the composition of the bacterial communities present in the microbiota.

Kevin Neill, Nancy Allard and Pr Sebastian Rodrigue

Photo: Michel Caron – UdeS

“The rapid increase in antibiotic resistance is caused by gene exchange between bacteria,” Professor Rodrigue concludes. We thought we could turn the weapons they used against bacteria and then use their strategy to our advantage. »

The technology being developed consists of a genetically modified probiotic bacterium and a delivery tool containing the CRISPR module, a molecular scissors that can be programmed to destroy the genetic material of bacteria with resistance genes.

Our technology differs from others due to its completely novel mechanism that uses DNA transfer from one bacterium to another to combat antibiotic resistance.

Professor Sebastien Rodrigue

According to Professor Jean-Pierre Perreault, UdeS vice-chancellor for research and graduate studies, this discovery makes an important contribution to the development of knowledge, which is one of the foundations for the general well-being of our companies:

If the discovery of Professor Rodrigue and his team caught the attention of Quebec Science, it is not only because of its great scientific value, but also because of its financial benefits. In fact, they not only found a workable solution to the planetary health problem, but also thought about applying their discovery so that it could actually serve society in the more or less near future.

Jean-Pierre Perreault, Vice-Chancellor for Research and Graduate Studies

The end product can be a probiotic given to patients in tablet or liquid form to drink.

Voting will continue until February 16!
Do you find this discovery remarkable? Don’t forget to vote on the Quebec Science website. You have until February 16, 2023 at 23:59.

A unique student experience

The basis of research projects at UdeS is the future generation of scientists: students contribute concretely to various projects and gain enriching experience in their careers.
The basis of research projects at UdeS is the future generation of scientists: students contribute concretely to various projects and gain enriching experience in their careers.

Photo: Michel Caron – UdeS

We suspect this: creating a technology that successfully blocks antibiotic-resistant bacteria and delivers it to the microbiota has become a scientific challenge. For Kevin Neil, the first author of the scientific paper on running and a student at the time of the discovery, the experience was incredibly formative. The technology has been the subject of a patent application, among other things, and is the basis of the company’s founding.

“I founded TATUM bioscience in parallel with my graduate studies to be able to commercialize the technology with Professor Rodrigue. So I had the chance to access entrepreneurship courses through the Banque National Accelerator for the Creation of Technological Businesses (ACET), where I learned all kinds of things about intellectual property, in addition to the science that was a big part of my PhD. , accounting and business management. It really completed my academic career. »

Anyone who has worked on this project since the second bachelor’s experience understands that the space provided to students at UdeS is enriched.

Having received recognition as one of the 10 discoveries of the year from Québec Science, we cannot experience this in our university careers.

Kevin Neil, postdoctoral fellow and first author of the paper

Nancy Allard, another student who contributed to Professor Rodrigue’s work, is particularly proud of the research team’s perseverance. He also believes that this discovery has the potential to make a real difference to this health problem:

My wildest dream about this discovery is that we can actually treat antibiotic-resistant infections in humans, and that really helps society.

Nancy Allard, PhD in biology, is a member of the research team

Definitely a project to watch closely!

The team behind this remarkable discovery
Sébastien Rodrigue, researcher in microbiology and biotechnology, professor in the Biology Department of the Faculty of Sciences; Vincent Burrus, also a research professor in the Department of Biology; Alfredo Menendez, professor-researcher of the Department of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases; Kevin Neil, postdoctoral fellow; Nancy Allard, graduate student in molecular and cellular biology (3e period); Patricia Roy, graduate in biology (2e period); and Frédéric Grenier, research specialist.

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