Assistant Professor

Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Project title: Using Systems Biology Approaches to Combat the Evolution of Multi-Drug Resistant Pathogens

Robert Damoiseaux, PhD, UCLA
Harvey Herschman, PhD, UCLA
Barbara Natterson-Horowitz, MD, UCLA

Multidisciplinary Expertise:
Experimental Evolution, Microbial Ecology, Systems Biology, Antibiotic Resistance, Multiple Stressors, Drug Interactions, Emergent Properties, Higher-order Interactions.

Project Description:
The evolution of multi-drug resistant pathogens is an urgent and growing global health issue. Here we tackle the challenge of antibiotic resistance in three ways, combining evolutionary perspectives and systems biology concepts with high throughput experimental capabilities. First, we investigate how antibiotics that are typically only used in gram-positive bacteria can be effectively used as novel treatments in gram-negative bacteria via synergy with other drugs. Second, we examine higher-order interactions that occur among more than two-drug combinations in order to discover and determine synergistic and antagonistic interactions to employ against pathogens. Finally, we will determine mechanisms of action and mechanisms of synergy using mutagen-antibiotic combinations. Our overarching goal is to find novel methods and treatment strategies to combat the evolution of drug-resistant bacteria.