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Researcher Receives CDC Award to Combat Antibiotic Resistance

UCSF Benioff's Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI) researcher Dr. Deborah Dean is the recipient of a new award from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  that will support the development and evaluation of new diagnostics tools that can determine the antibiotics to which a patient’s strain of gonorrhea is susceptible. Dean is among the 25 investigators that the CDC awarded more than $9 million in total to pilot innovative solutions and explore knowledge gaps about antibiotic resistance related to the human microbiome, healthcare settings, and surface water and soil.

Dean’s project involves rapid assays to detect Neisseria gonorrhea antibiotic resistance at the point of care. Once a fast and efficient test for resistance becomes available, it will help guide individual patient management and can be used to identify antibiotic-resistant strains of gonorrhea. It can also be used to support outbreak investigations of resistant gonorrhea in the community.

Antibiotic resistant infections can be deadly for humans and is a growing global threat jeopardizing modern medicine and the healthcare, veterinary, and agriculture industries.

“This is a phenomenal opportunity to tackle antibiotic drug resistance by first understanding the scope of the problem on a genomic scale across multiple strains and geographic regions, and then by developing assays that can be used in a rapid point-of-care device to inform treatment decisions before the patient leaves the clinic, office or health care setting and is lost to follow up," says Dean.

Dean has a 30-year track record of NIH, NSF, WHO and CDC grants, and currently has two NIH SBIR Phase II grants with Dr. Debkishore Mitra, co-founder of the start-up Diassess, to develop rapid POC diagnostics for Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhea. She has been a productive scientist with more than 100 peer-reviewed publications, 12 book chapters and one book in preparation. She holds patents on vaccine constructs for chlamydiae and POC diagnostics. She is a Professor at the UCSF School of Medicine, Faculty at UC Berkeley Department of Bioengineering, and Senior Scientist at the Center for Immunobiology and Vaccine Development, at UCSF Benioff CHORI.

The CDC’s awards are part of the Antibiotic Resistance Solutions Initiative and are intended to grow the agency’s innovative approaches to combat antibiotic resistance. In fiscal years 2016 and 2017, CDC’s Antibiotic Resistance Solutions Initiative awarded more than $24 million to investigators through a broad agency announcement to fight antibiotic resistance.

For descriptions of the new projects: www.cdc.gov/drugresistance/solutions-initiative/innovations-to-slow-AR.

Source: UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland

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