SEP 13, 2018 10:30 AM PDT

Understanding and Inhibiting Horizontal Gene Transfer of Antibiotic Resistance

Speaker
  • Postdoctoral Scholar, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
    Biography
      Allison J. Lopatkin, PhD, works as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Institute for Medical Engineering and Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Infectious Disease and Microbiome group at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, as a member of the Collins Lab. She completed her PhD training in Biomedical Engineering at Duke University, and her BS training in Applied Mathematics at the University of Rochester. Allison's work uses quantitative methods to study the spread of antibiotic resistance within bacterial populations, including synthetic biology approaches and mathematical modeling. Her current research interests include evolutionary dynamics of bacterial communities, leveraging horizontal gene transfer to target pathogens, and adjuvant discovery to extend the efficacy of existing antibiotics.

    Abstract

    Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) – or the non-genealogical transmission of DNA between organisms – is the dominant mode responsible for the spread of antibiotic resistance genes. Combined with antibiotic overuse and misuse, HGT (primarily via conjugation) has compromised the efficacy of nearly every single antimicrobial available. Traditionally, reducing overall antibiotic use has been the primary approach to reversing resistance. However, despite widespread antibiotic stewardship initiatives, resistance can persist for long periods of time.  In this webinar, we discuss the prevalence of plasmid-mediated antibiotic resistance, the role of HGT in maintaining antibiotic resistance even in the absence of antibiotic selection, and how we can use mathematical modeling to guide novel intervention strategies towards minimizing this risk.
     

    Learning Objectives: 

    1. What is horizontal gene transfer
    2. How is HGT relevant to antibiotic resistance
    3. Using mathematical modeling to understand HGT dynamics and guide useful therapeutic approaches


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