Beating antibiotic resistance: can we make evolution-proof drugs?

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Manuel's Tavern

602 N. Highland Ave NE · Atlanta, GA

How to find us

We'll be in the Back Dining Room, immediately to your right as you enter Manuel's from N. Highland Avenue.

Location image of event venue


- This event is a production of the Atlanta Science Tavern.
- It is free and open to the public.
- Seating is on a first-come basis.
- RSVPs are not required to attend nor do they reserve seats.
- Doors open at 6:00 pm for early arrival.
- Gather for dinner by 7:00.
- The evening's presentation gets under way around 7:45.
- Parking at Manuel's has changed; refer to the note below for details.
- Photo above: Principal investigator Sam Brown holds a petri dish of common infectious bacteria in his lab at Georgia Tech. Credit: Georgia Tech / Christopher Moore.
Beating antibiotic resistance: can we make evolution-proof drugs?

Sam Brown, Associate Professor
School of Biological Sciences
Georgia Institute of Technology

Antibiotics are wonder drugs. Not only are they safe and effective treatments for many infections, they also allow much of modern medicine and surgery to proceed safely by minimizing the risk of infection during routine procedures. Unfortunately, the widespread and indiscriminate use of these wonder drugs has led to the evolution of antibiotic-resistant pathogens, making antibiotics useless in some cases.

I will review the current state and trajectory of antibiotic resistance, before discussing how getting two simple things – drugs that work well AND drugs that continue to work into the future – is a hard challenge. Theory and epidemiological data says you have to choose one or the other. I will then offer a way out of this impasse, by using diagnostic information to treat each patient in a tailored manner. I will show that reversing the rise in antibiotic resistance is possible, but requires diagnostic information during both point-of-care (when you’re sick) and periodic microbiome surveillance (e.g. as part of an annual health check).

Time permitting, I will also talk about the particular challenges of chronic infections, with a focus on lung infections in people with Cystic Fibrosis.

About our speaker
Sam Brown is an evolutionary biologist and Associate Professor in the School of Biological Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Following a Ph.D. from Cambridge University (2001) and fellowships in France and Texas, Brown has held faculty positions at Oxford and Edinburgh before joining Georgia Tech in 2015.

The Brown lab goal is to to improve the treatment and control of infectious diseases, through a multi-scale understanding of microbial interactions. Brown’s approach is interdisciplinary, combining theory and experiment, evolution, ecology and molecular microbiology

Parking changes at Manuel's
The parking situation at Manuel's Tavern has changed since last spring. What was once Manuel's large parking lot on N. Highland Avenue is now a construction site for future townhomes. This leaves two options for parking nearby. One is the small lot behind Manuel's. The other is the larger lot across N. Highland next to Java Vino. If you do choose to use this, please be very careful crossing N. Highland. A crosswalk has been striped leading to and from this lot, but, as of yet, signs have not been erected to alert drivers to this fact.