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Society for Investigative Dermatology [Portland, OR]

May 18 - May 21

I’ll be speaking about the latest work in the Quave Lab on staphylococcal virulence inhibitors and exploring the ways these innovations could be leveraged to mitigate atopic dermatitis. I’ll be giving a poster and speaking in the International Eczema Council symposium.

Quave, C.L. Botanical inhibitors of staphylococcal virulence: A new path toward mitigating atopic dermatitis severity? Society for Investigative Dermatology (poster) and International Eczema Council Symposium oral presentation. Portland, OR. 5/18-21/2022


Plants have served as the fundamental basis for the human pharmacopoeia since ancient times. Today, roughly 9% of all plant life on Earth has a documented use in traditional medicine. We have studied the chemistry and antimicrobial activity of more than 700 plant species, including those used in traditional medicine in topical formulations to treat inflammatory skin diseases, such as atopic dermatitis (AD). From this work, we have identified several small-molecule natural products that act against staphylococci as quorum sensing inhibitors in the absence of growth-inhibitory effects. The presence of a high staphylococcal burden in AD flare sites has been well established in the literature. However, recent studies suggest that bacterial burden at inflamed sites may not be the most crucial skin microbiome factor contributing to disease severity, but instead, secreted microbial exotoxins likely play an essential role. In a pilot study conducted with children and young adults, we recently reported significant correlations (P < 0.0001) between strain-specific hemolytic capacity among Staphylococcus aureus and coagulase-negative staphylococci with AD disease severity as determined by SCORAD. Here, the activity of a novel hydroperoxyl-cycloartane (IC50: 31.7 µM) and triterpenoid acids (IC50: 2-70 µM) from medicinal plants against staphylococcal quorum sensing and subsequent virulence factor production is presented, and the potential utility of these botanical ingredients in mitigating AD through selective inhibition of staphylococcal exotoxin production is explored.