Mentor: Craig Crews, PhD
Cesar De Leon is designing a new class of antibiotics to help cells send invasive bacteria to the cellular garbage disposal. He’s targeting Gram-negative bacteria, which can cause deadly diseases and are impervious to many current antibiotics. De Leon aims to make molecules that boost a natural cellular defense process for breaking down pathogens. He hopes his molecules will selectively flag tricky microbes for faster destruction – without hurting beneficial bacteria.