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Aurijit Sarkar, PhD

Associate Professor


School of Pharmacy and Health Professions
Pharmacy Sciences
Pharmacy Faculty
HLSB - Hixson Lied Science Building - 166

Aurijit Sarkar, PhD

Associate Professor

The Sarkar lab are experts in drug discovery. Their expertise is in computational drug design and data analysis, but they also maintain a set of experimental techniques to test computationally-generated hypotheses. The development of antimicrobials has been slow across the past 40 years due to a complicated set of circumstances. With no new antimicrobials likely to emerge in the near future, we are rapidly losing the war against antimicrobial resistance. So, the lab focuses on enhancement of currently available antimicrobials. There is clinical precedence for enhancement of antimicrobials. Augmentin, Unasyn and Zosyn are marketed antimicrobial-enhancer combination therapies with tremendous success against susceptible bacteria. However, these drugs all work in the same way, with limited applicability. We are trying to expand the ways in which antimicrobials can be enhanced, thus developing transformational tools against antimicrobial resistance.

The lab currently works on methicillin-resistant and vancomycin-intermediate strains of Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA and VISA respectively). We have identified several chemicals that enhance these antimicrobials against MRSA and VISA. However, there are several questions that remain unanswered: (1) How do we identify targets for antimicrobial enhancement? (2) What tools can we use to design antimicrobial enhancers? (3) What will the future look like, if our antimicrobial enhancers ever reach the clinic? We expect several years of fruitful work answering these questions.

Our lab has been funded by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, North Carolina Biotechnology Center, and the American Heart Association. We are constantly on the lookout for students interested in doing research.

Research Focus

Drug discovery, drug target identification, computational structural biology, data analysis, antibiotics, antimicrobial enhancers


Pharmacy Sciences


Associate Professor


  • ACS Omega
    Thomas, P.M., Deming, M.A.; Sarkar, A. -Lactamase Suppression as a strategy to target methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus: proof of concept.
    7, 50, p. 46213-46221 2022
  • ChemRxiv
    Thomas, P.M., Deming, M.A.; Sarkar, A. 1 Pyrimidine-2-amines increase susceptibility of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus to penicillin G.
    Version 2, p. Online 2022
  • ChemRxiv
    Deming, M.A., King, A.R.; Coover, R.A.; Fahrenholtz, C.D.; Sarkar, A. Phenylindolylmethyldiaminopyrimidines (PIDAPs) as potent antimicrobials against Staphylococcus aureus.
    Version 1, p. Online 2021
  • European Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences
    Sarkar, A., Enabling design of screening libraries for antibiotic discovery by modeling ChEMBL data.
    105166, p. 1-11 2020