HYBRID EVENT: You can participate in person at Rome, Italy or Virtually from your home or work.
Speaker at  and Expo on Applied Microbiology 2023 - Atanas Pipite
Massey University, New Zealand
Title : The coupling of emerging innovative Microbiology technique and extreme understudied environment: A new frontiers for drug discovery


Emerging infectious diseases and multidrug-resistant human pathogens are becoming a major threat to global health. The Covid19 coronavirus pandemic illustrates the suffering and financial cost when antibiotics and vaccines are not available in time to fight a newly emerged pathogen. Therefore, there is an urgent need for new antibiotics to fight evolving bacterial infections. Nature encompasses millions of prokaryotes and eukaryotes with particularly high diversity in oceans and rainforests. The phylum Actinobacteria represents one of the largest phyla among the 30 major phyla currently recognized within the domain Bacteria. This phylum constitutes one of the largest of the 30 major phyla classified in the Domain Bacteria. There are 6 classes, 18 orders, 14 suborders, 63 families and 374 genera recorded in this phylum, with Streptomyces as the largest genus of this phylum. Approximately 39% of Actinobacteria have been sources of new natural products, of which around 80% are from the genus Streptomyces. Over the years, the rediscovery of known compounds has led to the shortage of novel compounds.
However, until now, only less than 1% of the actinomycetes have been identified, investigated and documented. Out of 500,000 natural compounds reported worldwide from biological sources, approximately 70,000 are microbially-derived compounds (both from bacteria and fungi), of which 29% is derived from actinomycetes. Approximately 60% of antibiotics applied, were isolated from actinomycetes between 1950 and 1970, exclusively from the genus Streptomyces.

A few years ago, as we entered the age of DNA sequencing and bioinformatics, the challenges were to isolate a new natural product from an uncultured and unidentified genus of bacteria that cannot be grown in the laboratory and predict the nucleotide sequence of a biosynthetic pathway. For this, the screening of metagenomic data has revealed a huge hidden potential in bacteria. Today, in the post-genomic era, the challenge is to activate these cryptic gene clusters in the laboratory, capable of coding for a plethora of previously undetected complex secondary metabolites. For the latter, various strategies have been developed to activate cryptic gene clusters in microorganisms that may lead to the identification of novel yet unidentified secondary metabolites for therapeutic and other use. Our talk will presents two of the strategies or directions that researchers are taking these days, namely: Bioprospecting in extremely unusual environments and expanding knowledge of culture-based techniques. Our talk will be supported by studies we have done over the years.

Audience Take Away:

  • Understand the drug discovery pathways and various stakeholders in this Discipline.
  •  Understand the Major global public health threat: The Antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
  • Understand the drug discovery research current state of the art and help researchers who are experts in diverse natural samples overcome the challenges impeding progress in finding new antibiotics in natural and extreme settings.


Atanas Pipite is a doctoral researcher at the University of Massey, New Zealand. He undertook his postgraduate studies in Fiji after obtaining a French Baccalaureate in 2015 from the University of New Caledonia. After completing his master's degree from the University of the South Pacific in Fiji, he joined the University of Massey and began conducting research for the isolation of a potential new bioactive natural product. He has recently published extensively in this area. His team studies the extreme environment in Oceania for the potential bioactive compound of actinomycetes. These bioactive secondary metabolites can become lead compounds that target genes or proteins that causes diseases in the drug discovery process.