Jacobitz, Alex W. (2011-2014)


Alex is in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. He joined the Training Program in 2011.  His research mentor is Dr. Robert Clubb.  He received a B.A. degree in 2009 from CSU Channel Islands. 

Mentor: Dr. Robert Clubb

Research project:


Gram-positive pathogens have developed considerable antibiotic resistance over the past two decades. These bacteria utilize a family of enzymes known as sortases to display a number of surface proteins which are necessary for pathogenesis, including proteins involved in adhesion, iron acquisition and sporulation. Genetic knockouts of sortase enzymes in Staphylococcus aureus have shown a marked reduction of virulence in a mouse model of infection, and our lab has proposed that these sortase proteins can be used as a novel drug target to help combat the increasing prevalence of antibiotic resistance. Towards this end, I am performing both structural and biochemical characterizations of sortase enzymes to provide a basis for development of therapeutic compounds by rational drug design, primarily using NMR spectroscopy and a newly developed in vivo sortase activity assay.