The Dark Side of Antibiotics
Antibiotic Resistance: Policy Challenges and Solutions Lecture Series
- Martin J. Blaser, MD
Muriel G. and George W. Singer Professor of Translational Medicine, Department of Medicine
Professor, Department of Microbiology
Director Human Microbiome ProgramNYU School of Medicine
Antimicrobial resistance is one of the most serious threats to global health. Fast-evolving bacteria cause potentially deadly infections such as tuberculosis to develop strains that are no longer treatable by antibiotics. A looming, global health crisis is driven by inappropriate use of antimicrobials, the proliferation of antibiotics in the food supply, and the difficulty of developing new drugs. This lecture series will feature three prominent scholars examining this urgent topic from the perspectives of their fields of study: microbiology and infectious disease, agriculture and food production, and public policy.
Although antibiotics are probably as old as life itself, over the last 75 years we have been using antibiotics and related antibacterials on a worldwide scale approaching and possibly exceeding one million tons a year. Such use – in the clinic, the farm, the ranch, fisheries, and the home – is having an enormous impact on our ecosystems. One manifestation of the ecological consequences has been the progressive rise in antibiotic resistance, which is increasing geometrically in both scale and diversity. Another manifestation has been the damage to our internal ecosystems, most importantly the human microbiome. We are beginning to learn of the consequences in terms of disease, including those that have been epidemic during this time period – obesity, asthma, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, among others. We need to recognize and interdict these issues which often begin in early life, because unless we do, the problems will predictably grow. Prof. Blaser will describe some feasible, but still undeveloped, solutions.
Martin J. Blaser, MD, is the Singer Professor of Translational Medicine, Professor of Microbiology, and directs the Human Microbiome Program at the NYU School of Medicine. He served as Department of Medicine chair from 2000-2012. A physician and microbiologist, Prof. Blaser studies our persistently colonizing bacteria. His work focused on Campylobacter species and Helicobacter pylori, model systems for studying the interactions of residential bacteria with their hosts. He also has been examining the human microbiome in health and in diseases as asthma, obesity, diabetes, and allergies. Prof. Blaser has served as President of the Infectious Diseases Society of America; Chair of the Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Cancer Institute; and Chair of the NIH Advisory Board for Clinical Research, and now Chairs the President’s Advisory Council for Combatting Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria (PACCARB). He is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and the American Academy for Arts and Sciences. He holds 28 U.S. patents, has authored more than 550 original articles, and wrote the widely acclaimed book, Missing Microbes.
Beverages provided; please bring a brown-bag lunch.