Promising research project of Aswin Muralidharan awarded within Open Competition ENW-XS

News - 01 June 2023 - Communication TNW

The Domain Board Science of the Dutch Research Council (NWO) has awarded 28 applications in the Open Competition Domain Science - XS. One of the honoured applications is from Aswin Muralidharan for project ‘Using bacterial defense machinery for selective killing of cancer cells’. Aswin Muralidharan is a postdoctoral researcher with Prof. Stan Brouns (Department of Bionanoscience). Muralidharan’s current research interest lies in interactions of bacteria and bacteriophages. 

Using bacterial defence machinery for selective killing of cancer cells
Cancer is a leading cause of death and there is a need to develop targeted cancer therapies. Targeted therapies could potentially alleviate side effects frequently associated with traditional chemotherapy. To develop targeted therapies, we need new molecules that can discriminate cancer cells from normal cells. We aim to exploit and reengineer the way certain bacteria identify their pathogens by scouting for specific genetic codes associated with prior attacks, to selectively kill cancer cells. We will do this by engineering a new bacterial defence machinery known as craspase (CRISPR-guided Caspase) to activate programmed mammalian cell death by sensing cancer mutations.