Prof. Hinrich Schulenburg (University of Kiel)
Evolutionary ecology meets the antibiotic crisis: Can we control pathogen adaptation?
Prof. Hinrich Schulenburg
Evolutionary processes are responsible for the current antibiotic crisis. Surprisingly, they are usually ignored during design of novel therapy, which mainly focuses on finding new drugs. In general, bacteria show an enormous potential to adapt to constant environments, even if extreme such as those defined by many antibiotics. Adaptation may however be more difficult, if conditions change fast. Therefore, rapid fluctuations in the application of drugs may enhance pathogen extinction and minimize resistance evolution. To date, such fast fluctuations are usually not considered for antibiotic therapy. My lab uses evolution experiments in combination with genomics, functional genetics, mathematical modelling, and also analysis of clinical material to explore novel, evolution-informed ideas for antibiotic therapy. I will present some of our most recent results with the model pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa that highlight the particular potency of fast sequential treatments and the likely underlying evolutionary and molecular mechanisms.
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