January 10, 2019

Alyssa Grube (UNC Chapel Hill)

Effective antibiotics that reliably kill pathogenic bacteria are foundational to
modern medicine. Over decades of antibiotic use, certain bacteria have acquired resistance to the
therapeutics designed to kill them. Today, antibiotic resistance represents one of our generation’s
most pressing global public health challenges, with some experts warning of an approaching “postantibiotic” era. Mitigating this threat will require an understanding of the evolutionary ecology of
resistance including connectivity between human, animal, and environmental spheres. We propose
to use the Galápagos Islands as a model system to study how antibiotic resistance genes enter,
persist, and move across these compartments. The Galápagos Islands are a largely protected
ecosystem with points of acute anthropogenic impact. We will use next-generation sequencing
methods to probe bacterial communities for antibiotic resistance genes in the environment, wildlife,
and humans. Ultimately, this One Health approach will enhance our understanding of how
anthropogenic impacts shape the environmental resistome.