Beating Antibiotic Resistance: Can We Make Evolution-Proof Drugs?

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Antibiotics are wonder drugs. Not only are they safe and effective treatments for many infections, they also allow much of modern medicine and surgery to proceed safely by minimizing the risk of infection during routine procedures. Unfortunately, the widespread and indiscriminate use of these wonder drugs has led to the evolution of antibiotic-resistant pathogens, making antibiotics useless in some cases.  Sam Brown will review the current state and trajectory of antibiotic resistance, before discussing how getting two simple things – drugs that work well AND drugs that continue to work into the future – is a hard challenge. Theory and epidemiological data say you have to choose one or the other. He will then offer a way out of this impasse, by using diagnostic information to treat each patient in a tailored manner. He will show that reversing the rise in antibiotic resistance is possible, but requires diagnostic information during both point-of-care (when you’re sick) and periodic microbiome surveillance (e.g. as part of an annual health check). About the speaker Sam Brown is an evolutionary biologist and associate professor in the School of Biological Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Following a Ph.D. from Cambridge University (2001) and fellowships in France and Texas, Brown held faculty positions at Oxford and Edinburgh before joining Georgia Tech in 2015. The Brown lab's goal is to to improve the treatment and control of infectious diseases, through a multiscale understanding of microbial interactions. Brown’s approach is interdisciplinary, combining theory and experiment, evolution, ecology and molecular microbiology. This event is a production of the Atlanta Science Tavern.


  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created By: A. Maureen Rouhi
  • Created: 08/06/2019
  • Modified By: A. Maureen Rouhi
  • Modified: 08/06/2019