Colleges: CVM, EFSCOM, VCEA, CAS and CAHNRS
Antimicrobial resistance is a significant challenge to both human and veterinary medicine. A commonly held misperception is that the problem is simply a matter of “misuse” or “irrational” use of antibiotics. In fact, any use of antibiotics has the potential to selectively favor resistant organisms regardless of how we classify such use. The more important questions are what environment factors and behaviors contribute to the persistence and dissemination of antimicrobial-resistant organisms. Other critical questions focus on the evolutionary processes involved, and the need for novel antimicrobial therapeutics and other interventions. As such, this is a multi-disciplinary problem that draws on organic and inorganic chemistry, protein biochemistry, molecular biology, microbiology, computer science, epidemiology, statistics, behavioral sciences, clinical sciences, economics, and anthropology. Antimicrobial resistance research spans five colleges and fifteen academic units investigating a range of topics including everything from lab-based research focused on developing novel antibiotics, novel therapeutics and beta-lactamase inhibitors, studies of the source, fate and transport of antibiotic residues, resistant organisms and resistance genes in the environment including food and water, empirical and modeling studies of risk factors for carriage of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria in communities and hospitals, developing new analytical tools and algorithms to study antimicrobial resistance, identifying new diagnostics, identifying best management practices in a veterinary context, and understanding socio-economic risks, behaviors, incentives and disincentives for making decisions about antibiotic use. Our researchers’ work spans from the lab, to the farm, to urban settlements to identify pathways of transmission and to reduce both the abundance and transmission of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. WSU is part of the Northwest Antimicrobial Resistance Coalition, bringing together health systems, universities, governmental and non-governmental local, regional, and global health organizations.