Scientist will use funding to target antibiotic-resistant bacteria in middle ear infections

Heather W. Pinkett, associate professor of molecular biosciences and member of the Chemistry of Life Processes Institute at Northwestern University, has received a 2016 Hartwell Individual Biomedical Research Award for her work advancing children’s health.

Pinkett was selected for her proposal to design high-affinity peptides to block antibiotic-resistant bacteria implicated in recurrent middle ear infections in young children. This infection is the most common respiratory tract infection of infancy and early childhood.

Pinkett is one of only 12 researchers recognized nationwide this year as a Hartwell Investigator by The Hartwell Foundation. This marks the fourth year in a row that a researcher affiliated with Northwestern has received this honor.

“I will use the Hartwell funding to understand how pathogens resistant to multiple antibiotics survive in the host,” said Pinkett, a faculty member in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. “The support will allow me to pursue complex, high-risk studies, which likely would not be funded by the National Institutes of Health. By targeting a pathogen’s nutrient system, we might be able to develop an alternative therapy to antibiotics.”

Original article written by Megan Fellman and published on Northwestern Now.