Welcome to Microbiology and Immunology 2017! Meet Our Keynote Speakers…


bannerMicrobiology and Immunology 2017, a virtual conference by LabRoots, is coming to you September 13-14th! Join us in attending this premier gathering to learn about the world of microbiology and its relation to the human body. Microbiology and Immunology cover an immense scope, encompassing various industries and research areas including pharmaceuticals, medicine, agriculture, and space.

Explore the biodiversity within the microbial landscape and learn about new applications for drug discovery and biotechnology through topics such as Virology and Bacteriology, Antimicrobial Agents, Food Microbiology, Beneficial Microbes, and Immune Biomarkers: The Promises of Gene Sequencing and Personalized Medicine. By participating in this virtual event and watching webcast presentations, you can earn Free Continuing Education (PACE) and/or Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits.

This year’s keynote presenters will be discussing virulence evolution in pathogenic bacteria and antibacterial drug resistance.

turnerOn September 13, 2017 at 7:30 AM PDT, keynote presenter Paul Turner, PhD, a Henry Ford II Professor and Departmental Chair of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the Yale School of Medicine, will speak about “Using phage to select for evolution of reduced virulence in pathogenic bacteria.”

Increasing prevalence and severity of multi-drug-resistant (MDR) bacterial infections has necessitated novel antibacterial strategies.  Ideally, new approaches would target bacterial pathogens while exerting selection for reduced pathogenesis when these bacteria inevitably evolve resistance to therapeutic intervention.

A lytic bacteriophage, OMKO1, utilizes the outer membrane porin M (OprM) of the multidrug efflux systems MexAB and MexXY as a receptor-binding site. Phage selection produces an evolutionary trade-off, where the evolution of bacterial resistance to phage attack changes the efflux pump mechanism, causing increased sensitivity to multiple drugs. Although modern phage therapy is still in its infancy, phages represent a new approach to phage therapy by exerting selection for MDR bacteria to become sensitive to traditional antibiotics. This approach could extend the lifetime of our current antibiotics and potentially reduce the incidence of antibiotic resistant infections.

Dr. Turner’s research interests include: evolutionary biology, evolutionary medicine, infectious disease, microbiology, phage therapy, RNA viruses, vector-borne disease, and virology. He uses an interdisciplinary approach in his research laboratory, employing techniques from microbiology, population genetics, genomics, molecular biology and mathematical modeling to study hypotheses in ecology and evolutionary biology. He regularly serves on committees for the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health and the American Society for Microbiology.

osheroffOn September 14, 2017 at 7:30 AM PDT, keynote speaker Neil Osheroff, PhD, Professor of Biochemistry and John Coniglio Chair in Biochemistry at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, will give his talk entitled “A Mechanistic Approach to Overcoming Antibacterial Drug Resistance.”

Quinolones are one the most commonly prescribed classes of antibacterials in the world and are used to treat a broad variety of Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacterial infections in humans. However, because of the wide use (and overuse) of these drugs, the number of quinolone resistant bacterial strains has been growing steadily since the 1990s.

Quinolones target the bacterial type II topoisomerases, gyrase and topoisomerase IV, and kill cells by converting gyrase and topoisomerase IV, into toxic “nucleases” that fragment the bacterial chromosome. Quinolone resistance is most often associated with mutations at two highly conserved amino acid residues in gyrase and/or topoisomerase IV. Recent structural and biochemical studies have determined how these two residues facilitate drug-enzyme interactions.

Dr. Osheroff will discuss DNA topology and type II topoisomerases followed by a description of experiments that led to the discovery of the “water-metal ion bridge” that serves as the primary interaction between the drug and the bacterial type II topoisomerases. These findings have been used to design novel quinolones and quinolone-based drugs that overcome resistance.

Dr. Osheroff’s research focuses on topoisomerases, enzymes that remove knots and tangles from the genetic material and modulate torsional stress in DNA. In addition to their critical physiological roles, human type I and II topoisomerases are the targets for a number of widely used anticancer drugs. Furthermore, bacterial type II topoisomerases are the targets for quinolones, a drug class that includes some of the most frequently prescribed antibacterials in the world. The Osheroff laboratory has made seminal contributions to our understanding of how topoisomerases function and how anticancer drugs, natural products, and antibacterials interact with these enzymes and alter their catalytic functions.

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