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Biochemistry Department - Primary Faculty

Menachem Shoham, Ph.D.

Associate Professor


  • Ph.D.: The Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel
  • Postdoc:Yale University, Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry

Research Interests

Current research in the laboratory focuses on drug discovery and drug screening to combat infectious diseases.
Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) is the most prevalent bacterial pathogen in the developed world causing an annual mortality rate of 20,000 in the US alone.  MRSA is resistant to most antibiotics and it is widespread in hospitals as well as in the community where it infects even healthy people such as athletes.
Multi-drug resistant Acinetobacter baumannii (MDR-Ab) poses a serious public health threat. The only effective antibiotic against this pathogen has severe side effects. The discovery of new treatment options against MDR-Ab represents an unmet medical need.
Our goal is not to develop new antibiotics but to screen for drugs that will prevent the formation of virulence factors, such as toxins, thus disarming the pathogen of its deadly weapons. Since such antivirulence agents will not endanger the survival of the bacteria, resistance is not anticipated to be as severe a problem as with antibiotics.
The approach is based on inhibiting key elements in the biosynthetic pathway of toxin and biofilm production. We are using virtual screening of large numbers of small-molecule compounds in order to select the most promising candidates for activity assays in vitro.
More potent compounds are developed from a series of initial hits by synthetic chemistry and structure-activity relationship studies. The efficacy of these lead compounds is subsequently tested in insect and rodent infection model.

Selected References

  • Kuo D., Yu G., Hoch W., Gabay D., Long L., Ghannoum M., Nagy N., Harding C. V., Viswanathan R., and Shoham M.
    “Novel quorum-quenching agents promote methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) wound healing and sensitize MRSA to beta-lactam antibiotics”
    Antimicrob Agents Chemother 59 (3): 1512-8 (2015). Read article in PubMedCentral
  • Yu G., Kuo D., Shoham M., and Viswanathan R.
    “Combinatorial synthesis and in vitro evaluation of a biaryl hydroxyketone library as antivirulence agents against MRSA”
    ACS Comb Sci 16 (2): 85-91 (2014).
  • Khodaverdian V., Pesho M., Truitt B., Bollinger L., Patel P., Nithianantham S., Yu G., Delaney E., Jankowsky E., and Shoham M.
    “Discovery of antivirulence agents against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus”
    Antimicrob Agents Chemother 57 (8): 3645-52 (2013). Read article in PubMedCentral
  • Shoham M.
    “Antivirulence agents against MRSA”
    Future Med Chem 3 (7): 775-7 (2011).
Menachem Shoham Faculty's publications at pubmed