Investigating the Rise and Spread of Resistance in Microbial Populations

  07 May 2021

The World Health Organization predicts that antibiotic resistance will be the leading cause of death by 2050. Allison Lopatkin, an assistant professor of biological sciences at Barnard College and Data Science Institute affiliate, is working to address this growing public health crisis.

“When you treat something with an antibiotic, the response is to evolve resistance,” Lopatkin explained. “There are bacteria out there today that are resistant to every antibiotic we have. They aren’t everywhere, but they exist. As we continue to use antibiotics, this problem will only get worse.”

Lopatkin leads the Lopatkin Lab, where researchers investigate the rise and spread of resistance in microbial populations to develop innovative and effective therapeutic strategies. The team uses a systems microbiology approach, which considers the whole bacterial population and the state of the cell, rather than a single gene or pathway. They examine the mechanisms of evolution by building predictive mathematical models of bacterial populations and testing model predictions. 

Further reading: Columbia University
Author(s): Columbia University
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