Antimicrobial Resistance Symposium

Photograph: 3-D cell placenta model mimics development, microbial resistance, NIH, 2016, CC.

Photograph: 3-D cell placenta model mimics development, microbial resistance, NIH, 2016, CC

Thursday and Friday, May 3-4

By 2050, antimicrobial resistant infections are projected to be one of the world’s leading causes of death. The threat posed by antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a global health equity challenge as well as a pressing public health concern for high-income countries such as the United States. The threat of AMR is commanding increasing attention amongst research academicians, but there are still significant knowledge gaps as to AMR’s drivers and transmission dynamics. While suspected to be a significant factor, the impact of antibiotic use in livestock, aquaculture, and crops remains poorly characterized, as does the movement of antibiotic resistant bacteria through the environment. And there are other unanswered questions. To what extent does accumulated antimicrobial residue in the environment select for AMR, at both bacterial and genetic levels? How does AMR travel through the medium of water, and what are the effects of naturally-occurring environmental phenomena such as monsoons and floods? How easily do human beings acquire AMR from ingested water and food, and how stable is this carriage?

Embedded within the cross-cutting nature of these questions is a simple fact: interdisciplinary, collaborative efforts will be required to answer them. Moreover, global strategies to combat the emergence and dissemination of AMR will be critical to preserve the effectiveness of lifesaving medicines.

On May 3-4, CGHE and UB’s AMR research group – composed of Drs. Diana Aga (Chemistry), Shamim Islam (Pediatrics), and Jared Aldstadt (Geography) and CGHE will host a cross-disciplinary AMR Symposium, the aims of which are to generate creative responses to AMR and promote dialogue between UB scientists and the distinguished international experts invited to present at the Symposium. This Symposium will serve as an important part of the AMR research group’s efforts to cultivate a UB-based research community that will commit to tackle one of the most critical public health problems of our time.

Thursday May 3 | 217 Hayes Hall | South Campus

Morning Sessions

10am | Welcome

10:15am | The Public Health Impact of Intersecting Resistomes among Animals, Humans and the Environment

David White.

David G. White
Associate Dean for Research and Professor of Food Science
Institute of Agriculture
University of Tennessee

David White joined The University of Tennessee, Institute of Agriculture as an Associate Dean for Research and Associate Director of the Tennessee Agricultural Experiment Station in September, 2016. Previously, he served in several positions in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as Chief Science Officer/Research Director, Director of the Office of Research at FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, and Director of FDA’s National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS).

Previously, Dr. White served as a member of the Ad hoc group on Antimicrobial Resistance, Office International des Epizooties (OIE), co-chair of both the FDA Antimicrobial Resistance Steering Committee and the U.S. Interagency Task Force on Antimicrobial Resistance and as the U.S Delegate to the Codex Ad Hoc Intergovernmental Task Force on Antimicrobial Resistance. Dr. White is an editor of the book “Frontiers in Antibiotic Resistance”, ASM Press, Washington D.C. and is on the editorial board of Foodborne Pathogens and Disease. 

11am | Developing Computational Resources for Mining Microbiome Data for Antibiotic Resistance Posed Health Threat: Insights from Bioinformatics Analyses

Liqing Zhang.

Liqing Zhang
Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science
Virginia Tech

Biotechnology has revolutionized the field of life and medical science research, and has generated and continues to generate a vast amount of data at rapid pace. Making sense of "Big Data" poses  challenges as well as exciting research opportunities. To that end, Dr. Zhang’s research focuses on the development of computational and statistical tools that can process and analyze various kinds of complex bio-data efficiently and mine the data (e.g., human genomic data, cancer data, and metagenomics data) to help address important biological and biomedical questions, thus facilitating the process from data to knowledge discovery.

11:45am | Small Group Discussion

12pm | Closing: Morning Session

Afternoon Sessions

3pm | The Economics of Antibiotic Resistance: Global Drivers of Antibiotic Use and Resistance

Eili Klein.

Eili Klein
Assistant Professor
Department of Medicine and Department of Epidemiology
Fellow, Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy
Johns Hopkins University

Dr. Klein is a mathematical ecologist and epidemiologist whose research focuses on the role of behavior in the spread of infectious diseases. Examining how individuals respond to incentives for both healthy and unhealthy behavior – an area about which economics has much to say – and how this then impacts the spread disease can improve policy responses to epidemic diseases by giving policymakers and health-care providers clear tools for thinking about how certain actions can influence the spread of disease transmission.

Dr. Klein has authored numerous publications on the evolution and spread of antimicrobial drug-resistance, with particular reference to the emergence of antibiotic and antimalarial drug resistance. This has included descriptions of the burden and seasonality of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), as well as other pathogens including carbapenem-resistant enterococci. Dr. Klein has also looked at how patients view the prescribing of antibiotics and how this bears on messaging regarding the overuse of antibiotics.

3:45pm | Evolution of Resistance at Low Antibiotic Concentrations


Dan I. Andersson
Department of Medical Biochemistry and Microbiology
Uppsala University, Sweden

Dan I. Andersson is a professor of medical bacteriology and director of the Uppsala Antibiotic Centre at Uppsala University, Sweden. Previously,  he worked at University of Utah, USA and the Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control, Stockholm. He uses genetics and experimental evolution to study genome stability and variability, development of antibiotic resistance and evolution of new genes. He is a member of the American Academy of Microbiology, European Academy of Microbiology, Royal Society of Sciences and the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

4:45pm | Small Group Discussion

5:30pm | Closing: Afternoon Session

Friday May 4 | Room 5306 Conventus Building | 1001 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14203

8-9am | The Growing Threat of Multi-Drug Resistant Gram-Negative Bacteria in Children (Pediatric Grand Rounds)

Latania Logan.

Latania Logan
Chief - Pediatric Infectious Diseases
Associate Professor – Pediatrics
Rush University Medical Center
Infection Control Officer – Rush University Children’s Hospital

Latania Logan, MD, MS studies the clinical and molecular epidemiology of multi-drug resistant Enterobacteriaceae infections in children. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) support her work. Dr. Logan serves as the Pediatrician on the Chicago Prevention and Intervention Epi-Center branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Epicenters Program. Dr. Logan is a member of several national committees and journal editorial boards, is an ad hoc grant reviewer for the National Institutes of Health and Center for Scientific Review, and is the volunteer medical director of a Social Service Agency in Chicago.

Background and Rationale

In 2017, with the support of the Community for Global Health Equity (CGHE) at the University at Buffalo, a multidisciplinary AMR research group formed and began conducting exploratory research in Bangladesh. Composed of Dr. Shamim Islam, an specialist in pediatric infectious disease; Dr. Jared Aldstadt, a geographer with experience in Geographic Information Systems and spatio-temporal analysis related to infectious diseases; and Dr. Diana Aga, an environmental chemist with expertise in the analysis, fate, transport, and treatment of antibiotic residues in the agroecosystem and the aquatic environment, the team is concerned with addressing AMR through its own research as well as driving efforts to build a cooperative AMR research-community at UB. 

AMR Symposium Organizers

Diana Aga.

Diana Aga
Henry M. Woodburn Chair, Professor, and Director of Graduate Studies
Department of Chemistry
University at Buffalo

Diana is an Analytical Chemist whose research program centers on investigating the environmental chemistry, biological and ecological effects, and mitigation strategies of legacy and emerging contaminants in the environment, such as antimicrobials, persistent organic pollutants, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, endocrine disrupting chemicals, and engineered nanomaterials. Dr. Aga’s work has demonstrated the widespread occurrence of antibiotics in the environment due to wastewater discharges and land-application of animal manure, resulting in promotion and spread of antibiotic resistance in non-clinical settings.  Her expertise in mass spectrometry for the analysis of contaminants in complex environmental matrices has revealed that trace levels of antimicrobials and their transformation products persist in effluents of wastewater treatment plants, treated animal manure, soil, and in receiving surface and ground waters.

Jared Aldstadt.

Jared Aldstadt
Associate Professor
Department of Geography
University at Buffalo

Jared Aldstadt is an Associate Professor of Geography whose work focuses on the drivers of the spatial variations in disease risk.  He employs spatial statistics and geospatial technology to address research questions in health-related research.  This includes work on environmental exposures such as pollutants and vector population densities. He has also contributed to investigations of the relationship between the built environment and health related behaviors. Dr. Aldstadt's AMR research aims to provide a better understanding of the environments that promote the evolution of antibiotic resistance and the primary pathways of human exposure to these environmental elements of resistance.

Shamim Islam.

Shamim Islam
Clinical Assistant Professor
Department of Pediatrics
University at Buffalo

Shamim Islam, MD, DTM&H, is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Buffalo, SUNY, and Director of the Antimicrobial Stewardship Program at Oishei Children’s Hospital of Buffalo. Dr. Islam has experience in international field research in infectious disease and environmental health, particularly in Bangladesh. His interests related to antimicrobial resistance (AR) broadly span epidemiologic, clinical management, and stewardship/programmatic issues. He’s especially interested in environmental exposures, and international travel and migration, as risk factors for resistant bacterial intestinal colonization, and as drivers of global AR dissemination.