BHWF Members Hear Talks on New Research for Saving Lives

We are made from more bacteria than human cells. Not only that, many of them positively contribute to our way of life by helping us be healthy, active, and produce vitamins. To address the bad bacteria, antibiotic treatment has saved billions of lives. However, the World Health Organization predicts that antibacterial resistance will be the cause of 10 million deaths annually by 2050. At the Beacon Hill Women’s Forum April lecture, guest speakers Drs. Laurence G. Rahme and Amy Tsurumi discuss how their innovative research in multi-host bacterial pathogenesis and anti-virulence therapeutics work to address the public health threat of antibiotic resistance.

Discussing the mechanisms of bacterial infection, Drs. Rahme and Tsurumi included how their work exploring both hosts and microbes allows them to create novel treatments. By identifying prognostic biomarkers, Drs. Rahme and Tsurumi are not only able to predict how vulnerable a patient is to infection, they can also work to formulate individualized treatment to significantly improve health outcomes. This area of research and its potential to impact medical treatment changes how science and the medical industry will look at how we address trauma and infections. Most importantly, it will help save lives and improve the quality of public health.

Dr. Laurence is a microbiologist and professor in the Departments of Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Microbiology/Immunology at Harvard Medical School. She is also director of the Molecular Surgical Laboratory at MGH. Applying her work in the private sector, Dr. Laurence is the scientific founder of Spero Therapeutics, which works to develop novel therapeutic alternatives for multi-drug resistant bacterial infections.

Dr. Amy Tsurumi is a postdoctoral fellow at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and Shriners Hospital for Children. Dr. Tsurumi’s research is focused on finding novel therapeutic approaches by examining and working with the molecular mechanisms involved with interactions between the bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa and its hosts as a result of acute and chronic infections in fruit flies, mice and humans.

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