Medical Researcher advises ‘Cautious’ Antibiotic Use

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The Teagasc Food Research Centre’s Dr. Dhrati Patangia talks about the importance of studying antibiotic resistance and why it’s becoming a bigger problem.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and superbugs like MRSA, which are resistant to numerous antibiotic classes, have emerged as a result of the misuse of antibiotic and antifungal treatments in recent years. There is concern that novel bacterial strains that are resistant to all currently available antibiotics may arise. As a result, this field of study has grown in importance.
Dr. Dhrati Patangia, who has a strong interest in microorganisms, earned a master’s degree in biotechnology and bioinformatics and focused her dissertation on the gut microbiota throughout pregnancy and the early years of life.

She was in a good position to finish her PhD at University College Cork’s APC Microbiome Ireland Research Centre. “Understanding the gastrointestinal bacterial community and harnessing the power of the microbiome (or microbiota) for the health and wellbeing of people and the planet” is the stated mission of the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) research center.

Dr. Dhrati was chosen for the first-ever APC Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) postgraduate program, a fellowship designed with the purpose of researching antibiotic resistance.
She was unfamiliar with a lot of methods when she first started, including shotgun sequencing and analysis. Because of the very collaborative environment of the research group, she felt more confident in her ability to pick up new skills and apply them to her tasks.

Her doctoral research examined the impact of both acute and long-term antibiotic usage on the microbiome in milk and the gut, in both longitudinal and single-point studies.
The team demonstrates that the usage of antibiotics in the very early stages of life can result in the accumulation of several drug resistance genes in the infant gut microbiome based on two of the research looking at the early-life microbiome and antibiotic resistance. This is crucial because antibiotic resistance poses a hazard to the entire world. Horizontal transfer is one way that antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) can spread, and antibiotic-resistant strains can result in the emergence of multidrug-resistant strains and complicate the use of antibiotic therapies in the future.

She said, “Currently, I’m a postdoctoral researcher in the Stanton lab at Teagasc Moorepark where I completed my PhD. I’m continuing my research into the development of the microbiome in early life.

While antibiotics provide lifesaving benefits, they come at the cost of antibiotic resistance and cause collateral damage to microbiota composition and diversity.

According to the World Health Organization, antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is one of the top global public health and development threats. It is estimated that bacterial AMR was directly responsible for 1.27m deaths globally in 2019 and contributed to 4.95m deaths.

My research focuses on examining the microbiome and resistome [antibiotic resistance genes] profile in early human life and lactating cows. I hope that our research will further spread the message about the importance of using antibiotics cautiously.

One of the biggest challenges, I believe, in the field of microbiome sciences is that of causation and correlation. While associations between microbiome composition and certain health conditions are identified, it is challenging to determine whether changes in the microbiome cause these conditions or are a consequence of them.

Another challenge, especially pertaining to the early life microbiome, is that very early life samples are low biomass and can be difficult to treat and recover DNA from.

Effectively communicating complex microbiome research findings to the public and policymakers is essential and also challenging at the same time. Misconceptions can stem misinformation.”

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