SUPERBUGS & DRUGS
Pamer Lab Studies How Antibiotics Can Disrupt GI Tract

Dr. Eric Pamer discusses the importance of robust microbiota in managing infections.
Dr. Eric Pamer discusses the importance of robust microbiota in managing infections.

Patients may, at times, have a gut feeling that antibiotics are making them ill. That’s because some of the antibiotics they’re taking to treat or prevent bacterial infections are also changing their intestinal microbiota, making them particularly susceptible to dangerous antibiotic-resistant infections.

The growing epidemic of antibiotic-resistant infections such as Clostridium difficile (C. diff), Klebsiella pneumoniae and vancomycin- resistant enterococcus (VRE), is usually attributed to the overuse and misuse of antibiotics. Recent evidence shows that even the proper use of antibiotics may be putting people at risk for these potentially lethal superbugs.

One patient who needed antibiotics for a bacterial infection associated with cancer treatment subsequently developed recurrent C. diff infections, recounted Dr. Eric Pamer, director of the Center for Microbes, Inflammation and Cancer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, during his Jan. 10 Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series presentation in Masur Auditorium.

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WINDOW ON BRAIN
Südhof Explores Molecular Logic of Neural Circuits

Dr. Thomas Südhof
Dr. Thomas Südhof

When a Nobel laureate comes to speak in Masur Auditorium, there is a flurry of preand post-synaptic activity, much of it having to do with audience members snapping cellphone pictures of the speaker.

Such was the case Jan. 31 when Dr. Thomas Südhof, who shared the 2013 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine, discussed the molecular logic of synapse formation. There is growing evidence that impairments in the logic of neural circuits is associated with the development of autism, schizophrenia, Tourette’s syndrome and intellectual disability, he reported.

Now at Stanford, where he is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator in the department of molecular and cellular physiology, Südhof focused on neurexins, cell-adhesion molecules crucial to the proper function of synapses.

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