Michio Kurosu, Ph.D.
Professor at University of Tennessee Health Science Center
Founder & CEO of MK Consulting
Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology
Chemical Biology | Organic Chemistry
Graduate school of pharmaceutical Sciences
Ph.D. & M.S.
Pharmaceutical Sciences | Organic Chemistry | Medicinal Chemistry
Dr. Kurosu has a long-term interest in identifying new drug targets for bacterial infections and in the development of new antibacterial agents. Tuberculosis (TB) treatment that is applicable in the context of HIV co-infection through host-directed therapies by enhancing immunologic reactions is believed to be an ultimate approach. Humoral markers to identify M. tuberculosis as vaccine targets and inducers that produce pivotal cytokines (e.g. IL-12, INF-gamma) need further investigations. It is my long-term goal to understand immune pathology of TB and identify selective immune-modulatory small molecules for the treatment of replicating and non-replicating M. tuberculosis. He has over 25 years of experience as a synthetic/medicinal chemist and has engaged in a wide range of research projects associated with infectious diseases. He has developed concise syntheses of complex natural and unnatural molecules, and design/synthesize chiral small molecules and generates small optimized libraries in solution or on polymer-supports. He also develops convenient assays against target proteins. These efforts have resulted in the discovery of several new drug leads effective against multidrug-resistant (MDR)-M. tuberculosis and dormant form of M. tuberculosis, and Gram-positive (e.g. Clostridioides difficile) and Gram-negative bacteria (e.g. Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Klebsiella pneumoniae). Our lab. has set up bacterial growth inhibitory assays against a battery of pathogens including BSL3 bacteria. These assays will be performed at the UTHS RBL facility. Over the last 10 years, he has studied electron transport systems, menaquinone biosynthesis, unexploited peptidoglycan biosynthesis (MurX, MraY, WecA, MurG), protein biosynthesis, membrane disruption, and bacterial kinases. New inhibitor molecules identified in these programs will apply for structural elucidation and functional characterization of bacterial transmembrane enzymes. He has had experience in anti-cancer drug developments in industrial and academic settings. Generated small molecule libraries have been screened against batteries of human cancer cell lines in his lab and spectrum of anticancer activity of identified molecules is determined by assaying against the National Cancer Institute (NCI) 60 human tumor cell line. His lab is primarily interested in phosphotransferase which is overexpressed in certain cancer cells.
The majority of antibacterial agents applied in the current clinical practices were introduced before the 1980s. Some bacteria have already acquired extensively drug resistance to these classic antibacterial agents; therefore, multidrug-resistant bacteria represent a major public health problem. Despite the increase in antimicrobial resistance, the development of new antimicrobial agents by large pharmaceutical industries is declining. The continuous development of new antibacterial agents is essential to combating the global threat of antibiotic resistance. In recent years, governments and non-profit organizations have played a critical role in supporting and stimulating the private and public sectors.
Antibacterial drug discovery employs innovative translational sciences, including target-oriented drug discovery, organic synthesis, drug delivery, and analytical and assay methods. The aim of this “Special Issue” is to highlight the challenges and opportunities presented by antibacterial drug discovery. This Special Issue may include original research articles and reviews on drug targets, medicinal chemistry, chemical entities, assays, phage therapy, vaccine, computational chemistry, new formulations, pharmacokinetic and dynamic aspects, and new strategies to using approved drugs.
Prof. Dr. Michio Kurosu
In the News
UTRF Research Foundation (October 20, 2023): UTRF involved in licensing discussions for several technologies created by UTHSC College of Pharmacy innovators
UTRF Research Foundation (May 29, 2023): University of Tennessee Research Foundation, California Institute of Technology secure patent for UT startup’s pancreatic cancer drug
The Harvard Crimson (March 21, 2023): Yoshito Kishi, Organic Chemist Who Climbed ‘Mount Everest’ of Synthesis, Dies at 85
Memphis Medical News (October 5, 2015): UTHSC’s Michio Kurosu Receives $431,000 Grant from NIH