My current project involves investigating clinical diagnostic methods for antibiotic-resistant gram-negative bacteria. According to the CDC, antibiotic resistance is a global public health issue that results in 23,000 deaths annually. Furthermore, the most common form of infection is Urinary Tract Infections (UTI's). Some antibiotic-resistant bacteria acquire resistance through the production of beta-lactamase enzymes that hydrolyze beta-lactam antibiotics. Current microbiological methods of detecting these organisms are time-consuming; therefore a rapid diagnostic test is essential for improved treatment techniques.
We are working closely with a diagnostic biotech company to create a rapid test to detect beta-lactamases using a monoclonal antibody approach to accurately and efficiently determine whether a patient's sample contains antibiotic-resistant gram-negative bacteria.
We are also looking into the prevalence of antibiotic resistance in gram-negative bacteria that are responsible for causing UTIs in the Bay Area. Studying these uropathogenic strains may help to give an understanding of the differences in antibiotic resistance between location and type of care (acute or chronic).