Special seminar by Erik Wright titled “The Art of War: Deciphering the ecology and evolution of nature's antibiotic factories”
You are invited to a Special Seminar on Tuesday, October 18th at 1:00 PM given by Erik S. Wright, MS, Research Assistant, University of Madison-Wisconsin.
Erik Wright’s seminar is titled “The Art of War: Deciphering the ecology and evolution of nature's antibiotic factories” and will be held at the Department of Biomedical Informatics, University of Pittsburgh.
The continued rise of antibiotic resistance is a major threat to public health and portends a return to the pre-antibiotic era. About half of antibiotics used in the clinic originate from a single genus of bacteria, the Streptomyces. Despite their contribution to our antibiotic arsenal, we still know relatively little about the role antibiotics have played in their ecology and evolution. Here I will describe the outcome of a tournament consisting of hundreds of competitions among 18 naturally antibiotic producing bacteria. Surprisingly, the outcome of many competitions was very sensitive to the initial relative abundance of each strain. This resulted in multistability where substantially different communities could arise from similar initial conditions. Antibiotic inhibition contributes to this instability by predisposing communities towards multiple stable states. I will discuss the implications of these findings and how further research into the evolution of antibiotic producing bacteria holds the key to combatting the problem of antibiotic resistance.