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Mosquitoes take on rabbit fever and win

Researchers at George Mason who are investigating potential new sources of antibiotics are looking at unlikely sources including alligator blood and mosquitoes, said Monique van Hoek, a professor in Mason’s School of Systems Biology and at the National Center for Biodefense and Infectious Diseases.

Read the full article: https://www2.gmu.edu/news/253116

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Gator Blood Contains Naturally Strong Germ Fighters

Sophisticated germ fighters found in alligator blood may help future soldiers in the field fend off infection, according to new research by George Mason University.

Read the press article: https://www2.gmu.edu/news/1455

Read the journal publication: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0117394

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New Study: Cranberries Pack a Punch to Bacteria Linked to Cystic Fibrosis

George Mason researchers are seeking out naturally based remedies to beat back antibiotic-resistant bacteria—and finding success.

Read the press article: https://www2.gmu.edu/news/1457

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International Research Team Tackles Deadly Virus

A George Mason University-led team of international researchers is looking for ways to treat a debilitating and often fatal encephalitis virus that hits horses and humans alike.

Read the press article: https://www2.gmu.edu/news/1757

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Dr. Hakami is awarded USAMRIID contract

The U.S. Medical Research Institute of lnfectious Diseases (USAMRIID) has announced intentions to award a new contract to Dr. Hakami of George Mason University for profiling of host responses to high priority pathogens.

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Bugged Out: Bed Bugs Could Be Key in Development of New Antibiotics

Dr. van Hoek’s bed bug collaborative research may yield alternatives to antibiotics.

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Mason Researchers Looking for Fresh Answers in a Medieval Disease

George Mason University professor Ramin M. Hakami is searching for new ways to treat modern ailments by studying bacterial and viral biodefense agents, including the medieval disease notoriously known as the Black Death.

Read the press article: https://www2.gmu.edu/news/1924

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Dr. Van Hoek and Barney Bishop – Mason 4-VA Grant Awards Honored

Drs. Monique van Hoek and Barney Bishop were awarded a collaborative grant with James Madison University to study antimicrobial activity in the bedbug, Cimex lectularius.

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Molecular drill bits attack tuberculosis

Dr. Monique van Hoek is quoted in an article about peptides designed to break through bacteria walls.

“In the ongoing battle against emerging antibiotic resistant bacteria, antimicrobial peptides represent a potentially powerful new class of antibiotics,” says Monique van Hoek, who works on AMPs at George Mason University in the US.

Read the full article: https://www.chemistryworld.com/research/molecular-drill-bits-attack-tuberculosis/7187.article

Original embargoed version: https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/pressroom/newsreleases/2014/march/fighting-antibiotic-resistance-with-molecular-drill-bits.html

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Expert commentary

Expert Commentary: Could wasp venom peptide keep catheters sterile?

Immobilised antimicrobial peptides damage E. coli cell membranes but leave human cells intact

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Dr. van Hoek receives 2013 OSCAR Mentoring Excellence Award

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JSTO – In the News (CBS Input – December 2012)

DTRA Funded Effort Studies Anti-infective Properties of Reptile Serum

Seven months ago, DTRA initiated a research effort to take advantage of the anti-infective properties of reptile serum. The concept is to identify and use constitutive parts of serum that enables animals to fight infection, notably cationic antimicrobial peptides. These peptides will be isolated using a novel, nanoparticle-based approach.

The foundation for this DTRA-funded work is research performed at George Mason University (GMU) in the laboratories of Dr. Monique van Hoek (National Center for Biodefense and Infectious Diseases) and Dr. Barney Bishop (Department of Chemistry) that demonstrated anti-microbial and anti-biofilm properties of these CAMPs. Recently, their published work has been recognized by the respective journals as being among the highest viewed articles.  For example, their paper in Frontiers in Microbiology has received 1391 views [1]. The companion paper in BMC Microbiology was “Highly Accessed” with 5647 views so far [2], and a second companion paper in BBRC received a favorable score in a Faculty of 1000 review [3,4]. All of the researchers and students involved are very excited to be working on this project. The principal investigator on the project HDTRA1-12-C-0039 “Translational Peptides for Personal Protection” is Dr. Joel Schnur. (POC Al Graziano, 767-3360)

1. Dean, S. N., Bishop, B. M., & Van Hoek, M. L. (2011). Susceptibility of Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilm to alpha-helical peptides: D-enantiomer of LL-37. Frontiers in Microbiology, 2.

2. Dean, S. N., Bishop, B. M., & van Hoek, M. L. (2011). Natural and synthetic cathelicidin peptides with anti-microbial and anti-biofilm activity against Staphylococcus aureus. BMC Microbiology, 11(1), 114.

3. Amer, L. S., Bishop, B. M., & van Hoek, M. L. (2010). Antimicrobial and antibiofilm activity of cathelicidins and short, synthetic peptides against Francisella. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, 396(2), 246-251.