Co-occurance and Implications of Antibiotic Production and Resistance Genes in the Environment

Type of Award: Catalyst
Date Awarded: March 2015
Award End Date: February 2017
Amount Awarded: $ 199,982.00
PI(s): Brian Murphy, PhD, UIC; George Wells, PhD, NU; Rachel Poretsky, PhD, UIC;

Abstract: Microorganisms have been the primary source of clinically used antibiotics for nearly a century, though the constant rediscovery of known compounds using traditional drug discovery approaches has not kept pace with evolving resistance to existing antibiotic treatments. Since nature is a reservoir for antibiotics and antibiotic resistance genes, it is critical that we understand how these genes are distributed in the environment in order to reveal patterns of co- occurrence, and develop a targeted approach to antibiotic-lead discovery from environmental microorganisms. In this study, we will use advanced sequencing techniques and data analysis to map the occurrence of antibiotic production and resistance genes emanating from wastewater treatment plants that discharge into Lake Michigan and Lake Erie. This information will be used to predict how antibiotic production and resistance genes are transmitted in nature and will facilitate the development of a more targeted approach toward the discovery of antimicrobials.