How is AI helping Researchers Identify a New Class of Antibiotic?

January 04, 2024

AIThority: A novel antibiotic that can kill a type of bacterium responsible for many drug-resistant diseases has been identified by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and McMaster University using an artificial intelligence algorithm.

Regina Barzilay and Tommi Jaakkola, MIT professors and co-authors of the current paper, “Deep learning-guided discovery of an antibiotic targeting Acinetobacter baumannii,” set out a few years ago to tackle this using machine learning. Nine antibiotics, including a highly effective one, were produced during those tests. This chemical, which was first investigated for its use as a diabetes medication, was found to be highly efficient against A. baumannii.

The Digital Transformation Institute was among the organizations that contributed to the funding of this research.

Barzilay and Jaakkola were co-P.I.s on a 2020 DTI grant awarded to Ziv Bar-Joseph of Carnegie Mellon University for a project using AI to mitigate COVID-19, research that led to this later discovery.

Read the full AIThority story here.

Read the paper here.

Image from Nature Chemical Biology paper