As the World Health Organization warns of a “post-antibiotic era,” with common infections and minor injuries turning fatal, scientists are scrambling to develop alternatives. So it’s welcome news that Francine Morris ’00 has developed a strategy that might lead to a new class of synthetic antibiotics.

Morris developed the technique while working on her Ph.D. in chemical biology in Caren L. Freel Meyers’ lab at Johns Hopkins University. Focusing her research on a particular protein whose potential scientists have largely dismissed, she demonstrated that it is possible to effectively target that protein within a microbe.