Eric Brown

Eric Brown



Research Focus:
  • Research Methods
  • Other. Biomedical Research
  • Canada Research Chair in Microbial Chemical Biology, Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research and Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences, McMaster University


My research group is working to explore largely uncharted aspects of complex biology in bacteria that underlie bacterial survival. The ultimate goal of these studies is to contribute fresh directions for new antibacterial therapies.

Antibiotic drug resistance has reached crisis proportions, principally because modern industrial drug discovery efforts have failed to provide new antibiotics. The reasons for failure are manifold, however, a lack of understanding of the basic biology has played a large part. Where modern drug discovery emphasizes reductionist efforts on validated targets and lead chemicals, there is a profound risk of failure if the complexity of the target, indeed the system, is underestimated.

Hence my program includes on-going investigations of enigmatic antibacterial targets such Gram-positive wall teichoic acid synthesis and ribosome biogenesis. It also includes on-going efforts to develop chemical biology platforms to enable the discovery and characterization of new chemical probes of bacterial cell systems.

Expertise within my group spans chemistry, biology and computation. Our efforts to date have resulted in new knowledge, platforms, chemical probes and lead compounds for antibacterial research. These projects have characteristically involved the development of innovative genetic or chemical screens that have yielded new targets and antibacterial chemical matter. Indeed, chemical and high throughput biology are hallmark approaches for my group. We pride ourselves on creative screening approaches that yield novel chemical probes with utility as tool compounds in exploring the biology. Occasionally these probes have potential as leads for new antibiotics.