This subproject is one of many research subprojects utilizing the resources provided by a Center grant funded by NIH/NCRR. Primary support for the subproject and the subproject's principal investigator may have been provided by other sources, including other NIH sources. The Total Cost listed for the subproject likely represents the estimated amount of Center infrastructure utilized by the subproject, not direct funding provided by the NCRR grant to the subproject or subproject staff. Accounting for evolutionary change in infectious agents represents a key challenge for medicine in the 21st century. Examples of rapid evolution of pathogens affecting human health abound. Particularly relevant is the evolution of antibiotic resistance leading to """"""""superbugs"""""""" in diverse pathogens, including bacteria, fungi, and viruses, and the evolution associated with the invasion of a pathgen onto a new host. Here, two new projects for the University of Idaho COBRE grant are proposed aimed at facilitating the transition into biomedically-relevant research by two outstanding young investigators by supporting them at a level that will accelerate their transition to independent funding. The first project will study the evolution of antibiotic resistance in bacterial biofilms, well-known for their resistance to antibiotic treatment, with two specific aims: (1) to compare the extent of evolved antibiotic resistance in bacteria grown in biofilms versus batch culture, and (2) to assess the generality of these findings by extending the study to other species and growth conditions.
These aims will be addressed by growing bacterial biofilms in the lab and measuring how their phenotypes change through time. The second project develops a model system for studies of emerging fungal pathogens in vertebrates. It focuses on gaining a mechanistic understading of the evolution of a recently discovered fungal pathogen, the chytrid Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), responsible for amphibian population declines around the world. there are two specific aims: (1) to evaluate the genomic changes associated with the transition to pathogenicity and (2) to evaluate the genetic signatures associated with hyper-virulence.
These aims will be achieved by sequencing whole genomes of non-Bd chytrids and Bd strains that differ in virulence, then using comparative and functional genomics approaches to identify candidate pathogenicity/virulence genes. This supplement will accelerate the development of biomedical research programs at the University of Idaho by providing these faculty with sufficient resources to rapidly acquire proof-of-principle data to support full-scale, independent proposals.
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