Distinguished Lecture Speaker Seminar: Eric Brown

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107 Parks Hall
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Title: Bugs, drugs and cell systems

Abstract: Antibiotic drug resistance has reached crisis proportions, owing to a dearth of new antibiotics. In fact, the last antibiotic of new chemical class and mechanism – approved for human use – was discovered more than 30 years ago. This is despite a renaissance in antibiotic discovery in recent decades that has used modern target-based drug discovery methods. In the Brown Laboratory, we are increasingly turning to cell-based chemical and systems biology approaches to overcome the shortcomings of reductionist target-focused paradigms that have dominated and failed. In this lecture, I will describe our efforts to chart chemical and genetic interactions in bacteria on a genome-scale in order to better understand the complexity of bacterial survival strategies and to reveal fresh approaches for antibiotic drug discovery.

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Dr. Eric Brown is a Distinguished University Professor at McMaster University in the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences and member of the M.G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research.

Dr. Brown received his Ph.D. (1992) in Biochemistry studying proline utilization in bacteria at the University of Guelph in Professor Janet Wood’s laboratory.  Subsequently, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow in Professor Christopher Walsh’s research group at Harvard Medical School researching bacterial cell wall biosynthesis.  Following his academic training, Dr. Brown worked in the Boston biotech sector with Myco Pharmaceuticals and Astra Research Center Boston (now AstraZeneca) before joining the Department of Biochemistry at McMaster in 1998.

Dr. Brown is a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and has received a number of other awards including the Canadian Society of Microbiologists Murray Award for career achievement and the Canadian Society for Molecular Biosciences Merck Frosst Prize for new investigators.  He recently held a Killam Research Fellowship from the Canada Council for the Arts and is currently a Canada Research Chair in Microbial Chemical Biology.

Dr. Brown is a former department Chair and was also the founding Director of a leading edge educational program at the nexus of science and commerce, the Biomedical Discovery and Commercialization program. He has served on advisory boards for a variety of companies as well as national and international associations, including a term as President of the Canadian Society of Biochemistry, Molecular and Cellular Biology, member of the Medical Review Panel of the Gairdner Foundation, member of the Advisory Board of the Institute of Infection and Immunity of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and College Chair advising the Canadian Institutes of Health Research on peer review, and a member of the Advisory Board of the EU’s Joint Programming Initiative on Antimicrobial Research. Currently, he is a member of the editorial board of ACS Infectious Diseases and the Series Editor of the annual Antimicrobial Therapeutics Review of the Annals of the New York Academy of Science.

Brown Lab researchers are searching for the Achilles heels of drug-resistant superbugs. To this end they are using tools of chemical and systems biology to probe the complex biology that underlies bacterial survival strategies. The goal of these studies is to contribute to fresh directions for new antibacterial therapeutics.