“Antibiotics – a biological perspective” provides an introduction to the major classes of antibiotics, their modes of action, the threat and reality of antibiotic resistant “superbugs”, as well as the biosynthesis, microbiological role, discovery, and industrial production of these compounds. The course will concentrate on the microbiological, genetic, and molecular biological aspects of antibiotics and antibiotic resistance, with less emphasis on chemistry. Thus, it complements but does not replace other courses that may detail the chemical synthesis and medicinal chemistry of these compounds, or concentrate on their medical or veterinary application as drugs. The course is designed to increase the awareness and appreciation of the importance of antibiotics and anti-infective research in an age when:
• cheap and failsafe antibiotic cures are considered a birthright in developed countries while lacking in the rest of the world;
• antibiotic use and misuse is prevalent in medicine, veterinary practice, and agriculture;
• antibiotic agents increasingly lose effectiveness due to emerging resistance;
• and anti-infective research has been severely curtailed by pharmaceutical companies.