David Strugatsky, PhD

Assistant Research Biochemist, Department of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

Helicobacter pylori is a human gastric pathogen that has been shown to be a causative agent for gastritis and peptic ulcer disease and in some cases the infection culminates with development of adenocarcinoma and mucosa associated lymphoma. Helicobacter pylori infection may persist for long period, and may be life long. Increasing antibiotic resistance of H. pylori requires development of new and more efficient drugs. The key physiological property of the bacteria is the ability to survive the high acidity of human stomach. The goal of the research of Dr. Strugatsky is to develop new drugs that target acid survival mechanisms of the bacteria. One such candidate target is the proton-gated urea channel, UreI. UreI has been shown to be essential for the bacteria to colonize stomachs of Mongolian gerbils and mice and acid survival in vitro. Knowledge of the three dimensional structure of UreI will be advantageous in developing an inhibitor of the gating mechanism of the channel. He has created a high throughput screening assay for UreI inhibitors and have found one hit so far. These inhibitors will be highly specific for H. pylori and efficient for eradication as a monotherapy.