Dr Xavier Chee has been awarded with a research grant by the Sarawak Research and Development Council with the project entitled “Machine learning-guided design of dual-action MgrA/AgrA inhibitors to suppress S. aureus Virulence and Pathogenesis”. In this work, he is interested to discover anti-virulence chemicals that could stop S. aureus from secreting toxins. The S. aureus is an opportunistic pathogen that could cause severe internal organ infections such as endocarditis or osteomyelitis in immunocompromised patients. The situation is further exacerbated with the emergence of antibiotic-resistant strains such as the Methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) and Vancomycin-resistant S. aureus (VRSA). With anti-virulence compounds, the goal is to stop the bacteria from causing harm to the human body while buying time for the immune system to destroy these bacteria naturally. The grant is worth RM250,000 with the team comprising of members from Universiti Malaysia Pahang, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, Universiti Teknologi MARA and University of Copenhagen.