Brian Murphy

    Email Address:
    College: Pharmacy Department: Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy
    Title: Assistant Professor
    Office: 3120 MBRB Phone: 312-413-9057
    Participating in the Chancellor’s Undergraduate Research Awards program: Yes

    Research Interest:
    The surfaces of marine organisms provide a source of nutrients for microbes within our oceans. Consequently a competition for space results between surface-colonizing (epibiotic) microorganisms. We propose that select secondary metabolites from epibiotic bacteria, which serve as chemical defenses or means of inter- and intra-species microbial communication, can be utilized to probe and combat the pathogenic mechanisms of human microbial pathogens. In the Murphy lab, these epibiotic bacteria are collected from unique source organisms, cultivated in liquid culture, crudely separated, and screened against a variety of human pathogens with the ultimate intent of discovering novel antibiotic structural classes. Of particular interest is the target Mycobacterium tuberculosis, a pathogen responsible for 1.5 - 2.3 million deaths in 2008 [WHO Global Tuberculosis Control report]. We work in close collaboration with the Institute for Tuberculosis Research at UIC (, who has both in vitro and in vivo screening capacity.

    Minimum time commitment in hours per week: 10

    Qualifications of a Student:
    Biological science majors only (biology, chemistry, etc). Must be enrolled in, or have taken (and enjoyed) organic chemistry.

    Brief Summary of what is expected from the student:
    The majority of the research will involve basic microbiological techniques (bacterial isolation and fermentation, purity assessment, etc). Student will be frequently working with marine samples under sterile conditions.

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