Author ORCID Identifier


Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Dr. Irene. Weber

Second Advisor

Dr. Robert. Harrison

Third Advisor

Dr. John. Houghton


The worldwide HIV/AIDS pandemic has been partly controlled and treated by antivirals targeting HIV protease, integrase and reverse transcriptase, however, drug resistance has become a serious problem. HIV-1 drug resistance to protease inhibitors evolves by mutations in the PR gene. The resistance mutations can alter protease catalytic activity, inhibitor binding, and stability.

Different machine learning algorithms (restricted boltzmann machines, clustering, etc.) have been shown to be effective machine learning tools for classification of genomic and resistance data. Application of restricted boltzmann machine produced highly accurate and robust classification of HIV protease resistance. They can also be used to compare resistance profiles of different protease inhibitors.

HIV drug resistance has also been studied by enzyme kinetics and X-ray crystallography. Triple mutant HIV-1 protease with resistance mutations V32I, I47V and V82I has been used as a model for the active site of HIV-2 protease. The effects of four investigational antiviral inhibitors was measured for Triple mutant. The tested compounds had significantly worse inhibition of triple mutant with Ki values of 17-40 nM compared to 2-10 pM for wild type protease. The crystal structure of triple mutant in complex with GRL01111 was solved and showed few changes in protease interactions with inhibitor. These new inhibitors are not expected to be effective for HIV-2 protease or HIV-1 protease with changes V32I, I47V and V82I.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is an opportunistic pathogen that causes hospital and community-acquired infections. Antibiotic resistance occurs because of newly acquired low-affinity penicillin-binding protein (PBP2a). Transcriptome analysis was performed to determine how MuM (mutated PBP2 gene) responds to spermine and how Mu50 (wild type) responds to spermine and spermine–β-lactam synergy. Exogenous spermine and oxacillin were found to alter some significant gene expression patterns with major biochemical pathways (iron, sigB regulon) in MRSA with mutant PBP2 protein.