Anibal Arce, Ph.D.


Anibal Arce, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral fellow
Chemical and Biological Engineering
Northwestern University
McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science
2144 Sheridan Road, Room E-136
City, State, ZIP
Evanston, IL 60207
[email protected]
Research field
Molecular Biology
Award year
Country of origin
Mentor name
Julius B. Lucks, Ph.D.


In the Lucks lab, I will explore the potential of RNAs called riboswitches as targets for a new class of antibiotics. Riboswitches are segments of RNA that dynamically fold into configurations that can either facilitate or inhibit the synthesis of proteins. Bacteria commonly use these regulatory elements to control the production of proteins that are essential for their survival. Recentlly, a riboswitch-disrupting drug called Ribocil was found to act as an effective antibiotic, killing even multidrug-resistant microbes. Unfortunately, bacteria were able to develop resistance to Ribocil by accumulating mutations in its target riboswitch. Using a suite of cutting-edge techniques in structural and computational biology, and combining in vivo and cell-free approaches, I will study the folding pathways of the riboswitch upon the interaction with this antibiotic and determine how mutations allow the riboswitch to evade this interaction. I will also screen a set of diverse compounds that could turn off the mutated riboswitch variants in order to identify candidates for the development of novel antibiotics. My work will shed light into the fundamental mechanisms of RNA folding in the context of antibiotic evation, and could lead to a new class of treatments capable of reigning in the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

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