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WSU looks for practices to thwart antimicrobial resistance

Robert Quinlan

Washington State University scientists are addressing growing global concern about the spread of antimicrobial resistance in Africa, where the World Health Organization predicts that, by 2050, drug resistant tuberculosis and other bacteria could lead to the deaths of 4.15 million people each year.

Their work identifying practices that lead to bacterial transmission could help save African lives and prevent the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria to the U.S. and other parts of the globe.

Doug Call, a professor in WSU’s Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health, Robert Quinlan, a professor in the Department of Anthropology, and Mark Caudell, a postdoctoral fellow, are the lead authors of a recent study in PLOS One investigating how human behavior, cultural context and living conditions in Tanzania affect the transmission of antimicrobial resistant bacteria from livestock to humans.

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Tasmanian devils evolve to resist deadly cancer

Andrew Storfer
Andrew Storfer

Tasmanian devils are evolving in response to a highly lethal and contagious form of cancer, a Washington State University researcher has found.

Andrew Storfer, WSU professor of biology, and an international team of scientists discovered that two regions in the genomes of Australia’s iconic marsupials are changing in response to the rapid spread of devil facial tumor disease (DFTD), a nearly 100 percent fatal and transmissible cancer first detected in 1996.

The work, published today in Nature Communications, suggests some Tasmanian devil populations are evolving genetic resistance to DFTD that could help the species avoid extinction.

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Licensing deal will help combat deadly cattle disease

A gene-editing technology developed at Washington State University is being licensed to Genus plc, a global animal genetics company, to develop cattle that are more resistant to bovine respiratory disease (BRD).

The outcome of a discovery by WSU researcher Subramaniam Srikumaran, the new technology and its translation to disease-resistant animals is an example of the WSU expertise behind the recently launched Functional Genomics Initiative (FGI). FGI was developed by the College of Veterinary Medicine in partnership with the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences to address grand challenges around health and global food supply.

The goal of this initiative is to use gene-editing approaches and advanced reproductive technologies to produce livestock that will increase food production, enhance disease resistance and allow livestock to thrive as global demand for food increases. Funding for the initiative and a center dedicated to this work will lead to additional important discoveries.

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A new IMS breathalyzer for marijuana

Herb Hill
Herb Hill

A team of researchers at Washington State University’s Department of Chemistry has shed new light on the challenges surrounding the growing marijuana industry.

Prof. Herbert Hill and his team of researchers at the WSU Department of Chemistry have come up with a novel approach to measure drugs via breath with ion mobility spectrometry. IMS is currently used for explosives detection at airports and for chemical warfare detection. So Hill and his team decided to extend it further for illicit drug detection.

“I’m an ion mobility spectrometry person, that’s what I do and have been doing for many years,” Hill told R&D Magazine. “We began to focus primarily on THC, although the potential is for this technology to be used for many different kinds of drugs.”

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