Exciting research stay at the University of Illinois of Chicago (UIC)

Dr. Roger Junges and Dr. Gabriela Salvadori, UiO members of the RESISPART consortium, spent two months at UIC developing novel strategies that can help us fight infections.

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Postdoctoral fellows Roger Junges and Gabriela Salvadori da Silva. Photo: Fredrik Haugen Pedersen, OD/UiO

Antibiotic resistance is rising to dangerously high levels in all parts of the world. New resistance mechanisms are emerging and spreading globally, threatening our ability to treat common infectious diseases. A growing list of infections are becoming harder, and sometimes impossible, to treat as antibiotics become less effective. Initiatives are necessary to address this imminent problem, and this is where the «Enhancing world-class research and education in biofilm and antibiotic resistance by strengthening cooperation between Norway-Brazil-USA» project was born.

The aim of the project is to is to create long-term and outstanding research education to address global commitments to reduce antibiotic use and to find innovative solutions to fight antimicrobial resistance.

International collaboration and research exchange

With the goal of strengthening the collaboration and research on this important topic, Dr. Roger Junges and Dr. Gabriela Salvadori undertook a summer research stay at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) with Prof. Donald A. Morrison and Prof. Michael J. Federle.

“I think collaboration is one of the most important aspects in research. This is how we grow and become better in addressing global issues such as antimicrobial resistance”, says Dr. Junges, who is a postdoc in the Antibiotic Resistance and Microbiome research Group. He is working with a project that identified a bacterial communication system that stimulates the production of a molecule that can kill other bacteria.

 “In light of the resistance crisis, we need novel strategies to help us fight infections, and we think it is indeed possible to explore and use some of these systems that bacteria possess against other more dangerous members of the microbiome”, clarifies Prof. Fernanda Petersen.

 

Group picture of the research group gathered outside UiC.
The groups of Prof. Morrison and Prof. Federle, together with our postdocs at UIC during the summer. Photo: Private

 

Profile picture of Dr. Fernanda Petersen
Dr. Fernanda Petersen. Photo: Fredrik Haug Pedersen, OD/UiO

 

Also excited about the project is Dr. Salvadori. She is looking to discover new resistance genes in samples collected from patients with a process called functional metagenomics.

“Even though the essence of the strategy has been characterized before, we hope to make significant improvements and additions to the method so that we can expand understanding of resistance genes”, emphasizes Dr. Salvadori, also a postdoctoral fellow in the group. This broader understanding over a larger library of resistance mechanisms used by microbes would put us in a better position to help prevent and fight infectious diseases. She adds: “We are also happy to bring our knowledge and discoveries to UIC, and also bring back to UiO what we have learned. This experience surely helps us hone our abilities and skills so we can be better equipped to tackle the developing issues in health research.”

 

Future plans

The RESISPART group is travelling together to Brazil in December to visit the partner institution: School of Dentistry at Piracicaba, UNICAMP University. There, the participants from Fernanda Petersen’s group, and the international partners from JCVI, San Diego, Forsyth Institute and University of Illinois at Chicago, will meet for workshops, talks and the main symposium: “Antimicrobial resistance: challenges and novel approaches inspired by oral research”, which will involve international speakers and is open to the public.

 

“I am happy to see this project developing and I think this creates good opportunities for everyone. I am hopeful that we are moving in the right direction and we will continue to work hard to fight the global issue of antimicrobial resistance”, concludes Prof. Fernanda Petersen.

 

Stay tuned for more updates from the RESISPART Project.

 

Contact:

Professor Fernanda Petersen

By Roger Junges
Published Nov. 26, 2019 9:49 AM - Last modified July 13, 2020 2:11 PM