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People

Dr Sacha Pidot

Dr Sacha Pidot

Dr Sacha Pidot

(03) 9035 3129 | [email protected]

Position:
Laboratory Head
Theme(s):
Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infections, Emerging Infections
Discipline(s):
Discovery Research, Genomics
Unit(s):
Department of Microbiology and Immunology (DMI)
Lab Group(s):
Pidot group

Dr Sacha Pidot is a molecular microbiologist and research-teaching academic with interests in identifying and developing new antimicrobials, primarily from Actinomycete bacteria. His PhD piqued his interest in the ways in which bacteria can produce bioactive metabolites, which he followed up with a change in direction to chemical biology under the direction of Professor Christian Hertweck in Germany. Since moving to the Doherty Institute, Sacha has established his own group to continue unearthing new antimicrobials and investigating their biosynthesis.

  • Key Achievements
    • Sacha completed his PhD at Monash University in 2011 working on Mycobacterium ulcerans, which causes debilitating skin infections. Following this he was an Alexander von Humboldt Postdoctoral fellow in chemical biology at the Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology in Germany. During this time, he was part of a team that discovered clostrubin, a novel antibacterial molecule produced by anaerobic bacteria, for which he received the Medac Prize (2014 and 2015) and the Leibniz Foundation “Drug of the Year” award (2015). Since then, he has focused his attention on identifying antimicrobials from human pathogenic bacteria. 

    Publications
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    Projects
    • Illuminating microbial “dark matter” for antibiotic discovery

      The discovery of new antibiotics to combat the rising tide of antibiotic resistant bacteria has been hampered by the rediscovery of commonly encountered antibiotic compounds from soil bacteria. Genomics, however, has shown us that the well of antimicrobials is not yet dry and there are many more potential compounds to find. To do this, however, new approaches are required. Recently, the incubation of different bacteria in co-culture or growth in the presence of sub-inhibitory concentrations of antibiotics has been shown to induce antibiotic production. We are currently investigating induction and co-culturing methodologies across a range of actinomycete bacteria, testing for their ability to inhibit hospital superbugs.

    • New antibiotics from old bacteria

      Development of new antibiotics is key to addressing the crisis in human health caused by the rise of multi-drug resistant superbugs. Empirical screening of bacteria and fungi for bioactive molecules has been the source of the most successful existing antibiotics. The most prolific producers of these metabolites are the Actinobacteria, but high re‑discovery rates amongst soil-derived organisms demand the testing of new reservoirs of biodiversity. Recent studies have shown that human-associated bacteria represent a previously untapped source of antimicrobial diversity and we have begun exploring the antimicrobial activity of a collection of 700 human pathogenic Actinobacteria held by the state microbiology reference laboratory.

    Research Groups
    • Pidot group

      The Pidot group is a multi-disciplinary team that works across microbiology, genomics and biological chemistry to identify new antimicrobials and investigate their biosynthesis.


      Lab Team

      • Marion Herisse
        Research Assistant
      • Janet Byrne
        Masters Student
      • Emma Kenshole
        Masters Student

Full University of Melbourne profile