27 October 2016
The Normanby Lecture in Microbiology was established in 1996 in recognition of the considerable financial support that has been provided by the Normanby family in constructing, extending and refurbishing the Moyne Institute of Preventive Medicine over more than six decades. Normanby lecturers are leaders in microbiological research and in 2016 our speaker was Professor Tony Maxwell of the John Innes Institute in Norwich, UK. Professor Maxwell's lecture was entitled "Supercoils and Superbugs: exploiting DNA topoisomerases as targets for antibacterial activity". In this fascinating talk, the audience learned about efforts to control bacterial infection through the development of antibiotics that poison the activities of type II topoisomerases in microbes. Professor Maxwell reviewed the global problem of antibiotic resistance before going on to describe the biochemical activities of topoisomerases, the structures and mechanisms of action of the drugs that inhibit them and the types of academic-industrial partnerships that are driving modern developments in drug discovery. Recent efforts to employ anti-topoisomerase agents in the fight against tuberculosis were also covered. The talk was well attended and was followed by a reception organised by the TCD Microbiology Society.