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Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series (WALS) - New antibiotics from the microbial dark matter

January 18, 2017

3:00pm - 4:00pm

The NIH Director's Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series, colloquially known as WALS, is the highest-profile lecture program at the NIH. Lectures occur on most Wednesdays from September through June from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. in Masur Auditorium, Building 10 on the NIH Bethesda campus.

Each season includes some of the biggest names in biomedical and behavioral research. The goal of the WALS is to keep NIH researchers abreast of the latest and most important research in the United States and beyond. An added treat is the annual J. Edward Rall Cultural Lecture, which features top authors and other cultural icons. All speakers are nominated by the NIH community.

Speaker: Kim Lewis, Ph.D. , Northeastern University

We are experiencing an antibiotic crisis: Our ability to discover novel compounds has diminished and pathogens go largely unchecked in acquiring and spreading resistance. The main source of antibiotics–soil actinomycetes–has been overmined. In chronic infections, the problem is compounded by the presence of dormant persister cells that are resistant to all antibiotics. As a result, chronic osteomyelitis or infections in patients with cystic fibrosis can be untreatable. About 99 percent of environmental microorganisms are uncultured. Dr. Lewis’s lab developed approaches for killing persister cells and growing uncultured bacteria. The lab found that this "microbial dark matter" harbors novel antimicrobials that evolved to be essentially free of resistance. 

Building 10, Clinical Center, Masur Auditorium

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