Harvard Medical School (HMS) researcherJohan Paulsson, PhD, will lead a multi-institutional $104 million effort to study bacteria and antibiotic resistance, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced on September 27, 2023. The work is funded by the newly established Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) in an effort to address an unfolding crisis of antibiotic resistance that is expected to get worse as more bacteria become impervious to existing drugs. Under Dr. Paulsson’s leadership, scientists from 25 research groups in California, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin, and the United Kingdom will work to develop novel microscopy, microfluidics, single-cell assays, and machine learning tools into technology for identifying bacteria and understanding their behavior. The researchers plan to use this technology to improve diagnosis of bacterial infections in the clinic, and to aid in the development of more effective antibiotics in the lab. If it succeeds, the research has the potential to drastically transform how bacterial infections are diagnosed and treated. More broadly, the work will aim to unravel the mysteries of bacterial behavior and the biologic mechanisms of bacterial diseases.
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