Focco van den Akker, PhD

Associate Professor
Department of Biochemistry
School of Medicine

Research Information

Research Interests

The van den Akker lab carries out structure-function and inhibitor design studies to combat antibiotic resistance. We study known drug targets and also aim to discover new Achilles' heel opportunities: the main targets are proteins involved in peptidoglycan metabolism including penicillin-binding proteins (PBPs), beta-lactamases, and lytic transglycosylases among others. We explore mechanism-based reaction-coordinate inhibitors and also employ fragment-based ligand discovery approaches. Key techniques used are protein crystallography, biophysical tools to probe ligand binding (DSF and SPR), computational methods (in silico docking and molecular dynamics simulations), and enzymatic assays while collaborating with expert microbiologists, biochemists, medicinal chemists, and pharmaceutical companies.

Additional non-antibiotic resistance drug-discovery related projects include developing and studying new agents to prevent pre-term birth (NIH funded collaboration with Dr. Sam Mesiano) and developing nitrosylation modulators (NIH funded collaboration with Dr. Jonathan Stamler).

Research Projects

van den Akker Lab Website


Publication Date

View all up-to-date publications (NCBI Bibliography)


University of Washington
Post Doc
Lerner Research Institute, Cleveland Clinic