SEP 12, 2018 6:00 AM PDT

Advancing Metagenomic Tools for Monitoring Antibiotic Resistance and Pathogen Gene Markers in Water and the Environment

Speaker
  • Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Associate Dean and Director of Interdisciplinary Graduate Education, Virginia Tech
    Biography
      Amy Pruden is the W. Thomas Rice Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech. Her research focuses on bringing a microbial ecological perspective to understanding and advancing design and management of environmental systems. Pruden is a leading expert on water-based pathogens and antibiotic resistance. In 2012-2013, she led a Water Research Foundation expert workshop and report on Opportunistic Pathogens in Premise Plumbing: Epidemiology, Microbial Ecology, and Engineering Controls, in which a multi-stakeholder framework for public health protection was developed. In 2016, she co-organized a workshop sponsored by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation at Emory University, From Watersheds to Showerheads: Improving Legionella Risk Management in the 21st Century. Her current research, funded by The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, focuses on how engineering design shapes the composition of the microbiome of tap water and implications for control and spread of Legionella, Naegleria fowleri, and antibiotic resistance genes. She has authored over 120 peer-reviewed scientific journal articles and is currently PI on a USDA AFRI project aimed at developing computational tools for identifying critical control points for mitigating the spread of antibiotic resistance. Dr. Pruden is the recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering and the Paul L. Busch Award for innovation in water research. She holds a B.S. in biology and a Ph.D. in environmental science, both from the University of Cincinnati.

    Abstract

    Next-generation DNA sequencing has opened new possibilities for microbial water quality monitoring, particularly for addressing emerging concerns like antibiotic resistance and opportunistic pathogens.   Here we will demonstrate how the approach is being applied to survey antibiotic resistance genes and pathogen gene markers in various water and environmental systems, including drinking water, wastewater, reclaimed water, and agricultural manure management systems.  Current efforts are focused on deriving various metrics from metagenomic data for assessing presence of these targets and potential to spread undesirable traits, such as antibiotic resistance and virulence genes.  As DNA sequencing and bioinformatic technologies are rapidly developing, development and validation of various approaches is needed, along with adoption of standardized methods by relevant stakeholders.

    Learning Objectives: 

    1. Describe what shotgun metagenomic sequencing is and benefits for water analysis
    2. Describe current limitations to shotgun metagenomic approaches for pathogen and resistance monitoring
    3. Describe new developments and approaches for advancing metagenomic tools for water monitoring


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