Graduate Student

Email: chao.chen@husky.neu.edu

chaochen

Research Interests:
I am interested in identifying novel antimicrobials targeting human pathogen Clostridium difficileC. difficile is a Gram-positive, rode-shaped, and spore-forming anaerobe transmitted via the oral-fecal route. C. difficile typically resides asymptomatically in the human gastrointestinal tract until normal microflora are disrupted, such as following broad-spectrum antibiotic treatments, after which is can overgrow producing toxins. EnsuingC. difficile infection (CDI) can range in severity from mild diarrhea to life-threatening pseudomembranous colitis (PMC), and toxic megacolon. C. difficile is recognized as the most common cause of healthcare-associated infection, replacing methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Current antibiotics for treating CDI, i.e. metronidazole, vancomycin, and fidaxomicin, are mostly effective. However, failure to cure CDI caused by the hypervirulent strains BI/NAP1/027 and relapse of the disease remain as significant clinical problems. The shortcomings of current agents are attributed to their low selectivity for C. difficile over normal gut microflora and their ineffectiveness against C. difficilespores. In order to solve these problems, I am developing compounds that are selective for C. difficile over normal gut microflora and active against non-growing cells which are responsible for sporulation.

Publications:
Chen C, Dolla NK, Casadei G, Bremner JB, Lewis K, and Kelso MJ. Diarylacylhydrazones: Clostridium-selective antibacterials with activity against stationary-phase cells. Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 2014 Jan 15;24(2):595-600.