Prof. Kwok-yin Wong from Hong Kong Polytechnic University was invited by Prof. Renjun Pei to visit SINANO on December 20th, and presented a scientific report on the topic of “Bacterial Cell Division Proteins as Potential Target for New Antibiotics”.
Antibiotic resistance is a serious worldwide health threatening problem. Bacterial cell division proteins are potential drug targets in the development of new antibiotics. During the process of bacterial cell division, over 30 proteins assemble together to form the ‘divisome’ protein complex. The divisome will trigger the synthesis of new bacterial cell wall for the daughter cells. Perturbation of protein-protein interactions in the divisome can lead to failure in bacterial cell wall synthesis and hence cell death, which will provide insight on the development of small molecules as antibiotics. In his laboratory, he has been working on the development of inhibitors for the early bacterial cell division protein FtsZ. FtsZ inhibitors can restore the beta-lactam susceptibility of some drug resistant strains such as methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and are thus potential new antibiotic candidates.
Prof. Wong is Associate Vice President (Research Support), Patrick S.C. Poon Endowed Professor in Applied Chemistry and Chair Professor of Chemical Technology at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. He obtained his BSc(Hons) and PhD degrees from The University of Hong Kong in 1981 and 1986 respectively. He was a postdoctoral research fellow at the California Institute of Technology in the United States from 1986 to 1987. After working in the Hong Kong Government Laboratory, he joined the Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology of the then Hong Kong Polytechnic in 1990 as a lecturer. He was promoted to full professor in 1995, and chair professor in 2005. He was a visiting professor in the Department of Chemistry of McGill University in 2004-2005. He served as the Head of Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology from 2005 to 2009, and as Dean of the Faculty of Applied Science and Textiles from 2008 to 2015. Prof. Wong is also the Director of the Partner State Key Laboratory of Chirosciences at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. The research of this State Key Laboratory focuses on chemical synthesis, chemical biology and drug discovery.