Discovering Novel Antibiotics From Medicinal Plants to Combat The Rise of Super-Bacteria

Raised of $6,330 Goal
Ended on 6/18/17
Campaign Ended
  • $841
  • 14%
  • Finished
    on 6/18/17

About This Project

One in three deaths are attributed to infectious diseases due to the rise of multiple drug resistant bacteria (super-bacteria). This is a major concern for low-income families and those in poverty, where infectious diseases are responsible for nearly 60% of all deaths. The situation is alarming since discovery of new antibiotics is constantly declining. To combat the rise of super-bacteria, I will isolate new compounds from crude medicinal plant extracts that I have begun to characterize.

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What is the context of this research?

The discovery and characterization of new antibacterial drugs is essential for the future of healthcare. Previously, I performed a meta-study identifying medicinal plants that were used in aboriginal communities towards the treatment of infections diseases (burns, cuts, mouth conditions). I prepared crude extracts from these plants and analyzed their antibacterial activity through standard assays: hole-plate diffusion, minimum inhibitory and bactericidal concentration (MIC and MBC), and time kill assays. From these studies, I have obtained very exciting and promising results with real world applications. In this grant, I am proposing to isolate the specific phytochemicals from our promising crude medicinal plant extracts and test their efficacy against super-bacteria.

What is the significance of this project?

Infectious diseases are a major concern in our society. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one in three deaths can be attributed to communicable or infectious diseases. This problem is traceable to the evolution of multiple drug resistant strains of pathogenic bacteria from the concentrated use of existing antibacterial drugs. The situation is especially dire since the discovery of new drugs has been declining steadily and hit a 20 year low in 2001. This may be attributed to retraction of pharmaceutical research on natural products due to the advent of of high throughput screening (HTS) technology and combinatorial chemistry. Subsequently, there is a growing interest in the vast potential of medicinal plants as sources of novel antibacterial phytopharmaceuticals.

What are the goals of the project?

In a previous investigation, I found that the leaf and flower extracts of Anaphalis margaritacea and Grindelia squarrosa possess significant antibacterial activity against the panel of bacteria tested, with inhibition of bacteria within 0.5 - 12 hours of incubation at minimum bactericidal concentration - an assessment of the smallest amount of crude extract that can kill bacteria. The goal of this project is to proceed towards the isolation and characterization of antibacterial compounds or pharmacophores from these plant extracts. Then, these pure compounds are to be tested against an extensive panel of super-bacteria: Mycobacterium Tuberculosis, Staphylococci aureus, Enterococci sp., Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Acinetobacter baumanii.


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The allocated budget is essential for the isolation and characterization of phytochemicals from plants. To obtain a suitable amount of extract, we need an excess of 1 kilogram of dried plant material which will require travel to multiple locations. Specialized equipment must be purchased in order to isolate antibacterial compounds. In addition, organic solvents and rental of laboratory space is essential for the completion of this project. Briefly, the plant material will be dried using a conventional oven, ground, milled and suspended in ethanol to produce a crude extract. The crude extract will then be filtered and prepared for High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC). Activity assisted bio-fractionation will be performed using a panel of six bacteria: Bacillus cereus, Escherichia coli, Microccus luteus, Mycobacterium avium subsp. avium, Paenibacillus alvei and Aeromonas caviae. Once successful candidates are identified, we will publish our findings.

Endorsed by

This is an important project with far-reaching consequences. Based on the promising preliminary data I hope this project gets funded and Haider can continue with this work. I look forward to seeing the final results!

Project Timeline

The Collection and isolation of the plants will take 1 month. Isolation of the plant phytochemicals based on antibacterial testing against a panel of 6 bacteria will take roughly 6 months. The characterization of their biochemical structure through mass spectrometry (MS), NMR, and x-ray crystallography will take an additional 4-6 months. Then testing of our pure compounds against a panel of super-bacteira and publication will take another 4 - 6 months.

May 19, 2017

Project Launched

Jun 01, 2017

Travel and collect plants 

Jun 05, 2017

Isolate the crude extract

Aug 01, 2017

Isolate and Characterize Plant Compounds Through Bioactivity Assisted Fractionation 

Oct 10, 2017

Characterize these Antibacterial Compounds Through NMR, MS and X-ray Crystallography 

Meet the Team

Haider Hassan
Haider Hassan
PhD candidate: scientist with a vision


Western University
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Haider Hassan

I am a PhD candidate studying the role of a tumor suppressor cancer. I also have previous experience in research on medicinal plants and medicinal chemistry from my undergraduate and masters projects. My goal is to make a positive impact on the quality and affordability of healthcare system around the world through both basic and bench-to-bedside research venues.

Additional Information

This is an institutionally independant project. All proceeds will directly go towards the project and publication processes.


Haider M. Hassan, Emma McDonald, Zi-Hua Jiang, Christina Asmussen, Emma McDonald, Wensheng Qin. 2014. Antibacterial activity of northern Ontario medicinal plants extracts. CJPS 94 (2): 417-424

Lopez, A.D. 2006. Global burden of disease and risk factors. Oxford University Press, New York, NY. 475pp.

Gomiero, T., Pimentel, D., Paoletti, M.G. 2011. Is There a Need for a More Sustainable Agriculture? Crit. Rev. Plant Sci. 30: 6-23.

Oerke, E.C., Dehne, H.W., Schonbeck, F., Weber, A. 1994. Crop Protection and Crop Production. 3rd ed. Amsterdam, NH. 808pp.

Newman, D.J., Cragg, G.M. 2007. Natural products as sources of new drugs over the last 25 years. J. Nat. Prod. 70: 461-477.

Christopher, D. 2014. After 2015: infectious diseases in a new era of health and development. Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B. Biol. Sci. 369: 1-9

Project Backers

  • 10Backers
  • 14%Funded
  • $841Total Donations
  • $84.10Average Donation
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