Bacterial toxins in disease & biotechnology

In the Melnyk lab, we use a series of biochemical, cell biology, biophysical, and structural methods to understand the molecular underpinnings of various diseases. A major focus of our research is a group of proteins known as toxins. These remarkable proteins are among the deadliest poisons known to man, and include such toxins as diphtheria toxin, botulinum toxin or C. difficile toxin B. The actions of these toxins on human cells are often responsible for the symptoms associated with infectious diseases.

Elucidating the mechanisms by which these toxins cause disease is important for understanding how our own cells work, and for developing approaches to block toxin function to treat disease. Further, by studying the remarkable strategies that toxins use to enter human cells, we are developing intracellular delivery platforms to introduce protein therapeutics into cells.

Lastly, through our expertise in small molecule drug discovery we work closely with SPARC Drug Discovery and industry partners to discovery and develop novel treatments for a wide range of human diseases.

  • Toxin structure, function and mechanisms of action

  • Discovery of natural and synthetic small molecule anti-toxins

  • Engineering toxins as intracellular delivery vectors for therapeutic proteins

Research Projects

Latest Publications


We are grateful for our funding from the following:

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