Project Snapshot

Treatment Optimization Pillar

Validation of Novel Targets

Project Key Words: Bacterial Pathogenesis; Phage Therapy

Principal Investigator: Amit Bhavsar, PhD

Co-Investigator(s): Tracy Raivio, PhD; Jon Dennis, PhD; Alexei Savchenko, PhD; Dongyan Niu, PhD

Project Theme: Innovation and Commercialization

The Aim

The focus of this project is to examine alternatives to antibiotics as antimicrobial strategies. We will explore the use of phage or pathogenesis inhibitors in this context.

Why is This important?

We know that the rampant use of antibiotics is contributing to resistance against these drugs. We aim to develop non-antibiotic strategies to disarm AMR bacterial pathogens and prevent AMR transfer from the environment to people.


  1. Publications and/or IP identifying targets that subvert bacterial pathogenesis or mediate phage toxicity
  2. Proof-of-principle therapeutics that validate targets

Research Questions

  1. Can we target bacterial pathogenesis as an antimicrobial strategy?
  2. Can phage be used to combat AMR, or prevent its transfer?

Our Approach

  1. We will combine structural biology and biochemistry to study virulence factors from bacteria and examine small molecule and protein-based inhibition strategies.
  2. We will examine environmental phage and their interactions with important AMR bacterial pathogens at the cellular and molecular levels.


Leveraged Sources of Support

  • Tricouncil - CIHR, NSERC
  • International - NIH
  • Institutional - UofC and Li Ka Shing Institute of Virology

Knowledge & Technology Exchange and Exploitation  

  • Catalyze new research partnerships

  • Develop new antimicrobial targets that can be exploited by other researchers or industry

Highly Qualified Personnel  

  • 2 PhD, 4 MSc Students
  • 1 Post-doctoral fellow
  • 1 Research Associate
  • 1 Research Technician