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University of Virginia researchers are working to outrace two dangerous germs known for quickly developing resistance to new antibiotics – and the scientists’ efforts could help us better combat antibiotic resistance more broadly.

A team led by Jason Papin, PhD, is developing sophisticated computer models of Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa,two multi-drug resistant bacteria that infect thousands of Americans every year. The researchers will use their models to better understand the cellular processes and gene activity that make the bacteria so adept at overcoming antibiotics. 

The researchers will then take their findings to the lab as part of an ambitious effort to identify vulnerabilities in the bugs and advance the development of new and more effective treatments. 

By identifying shared traits in the bacteria, the researchers hope to discover common links – and weaknesses – among germs that are adept at developing antibiotic resistance, a growing problem in the United States and around the world.

UVA Health News Room