Interdisciplinary research granted prestigious grant from the Swedish Research Council
A project on nanomedical precision therapies for the treatment of lower respiratory tract infections has been granted SEK 30 million to interdisciplinary research environments by the Swedish Research Council. The project is led by KI and Professor Fredrik Almqvist and his research group participate from Umeå University.
Text: Ingrid Söderbergh
FFredrik Almqvist is professor at the Department of Chemistry at Umeå University.
It is absolutely fantastic that we receive this large grant which enables long-term collaboration between our research groups!
It is the project "Nanoengineered precision therapies of lower respiratory tract infections" that has received a seven-year grant to interdisciplinary research environments. This type of call from the Swedish Research Council provides funding for large-scale, ambitious projects that aim to tackle major challenges and that cannot be carried out by a single research group, but require expertise from various fields.
“It is absolutely fantastic that we receive this large grant which enables long-term collaboration between our research groups! Together we can strive towards new solutions and increased understanding of bacterial infections in the lower respiratory tract”, says Fredrik Almqvist, professor at the Department of Chemistry at Umeå University.
Lower respiratory tract infections are caused by gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria, including antibiotic-resistant strains, and kill millions of people each year. There is an urgent need for new forms of treatment with effective drug delivery to the lungs. To meet this urgent need, four different research groups are now united with the common overall goal of developing nanoparticle-based precision therapies for treatment.
The proposed research environment is highly interdisciplinary and contains competencies in nanoparticle technology and nanomedicine (Georgios Sotirious research group, Karolinska Institutet), organic chemistry, medicinal chemistry and chemical biology (Fredrik Almqvist's research group, Umeå University), clinical microbiology, infectious diseases, pathogenesis, transmission of antibiotic resistance and antimicrobial therapy (Birgitta Henriques-Normark's research group, Karolinska Institutet) as well as pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and computer modeling (Lena Friberg's research group, Uppsala University).
“We researchers at Umeå University are responsible for the development of the antibacterial substances, which will be delivered to the lower respiratory tract with the help of new nanoparticles, which in turn are developed in Georgio's research group at the Karolinska Institute. We already have several different types of antibacterial substances that we believe will be perfect for this, but a lot of fine-tuning and synthesis of new analogues will be required for the concept to be as good as possible,” says Fredrik Almqvist.
If the interdisciplinary research environment is successful, the precision therapies developed will benefit patients suffering from lower respiratory tract infections caused by potentially deadly pathogens.