Bacteria

A field of circular cells — a 3D, scientific/medical illustration.

Two universities in Nebraska and two in Iowa will lead a new institute to fight the problem of medicine-resistant bacteria and “superbugs.”

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Iowa State University and the University of Iowa will collaborate in the institute, which will be based at Iowa State. The Minnesota-based Mayo Clinic also will participate.

UNL and Iowa State will fund the institute at a cost of $525,000 per year over three years, or a total of $1.58 million. The Institute for Antimicrobial Resistance Research and Education will be headed by Paul Plummer, associate professor of veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine at Iowa State.

Scientists and physicians are increasingly worried about the ability of bacteria, viruses and fungi to mutate to evade the effectiveness of antibiotics.

The federal government is among the entities promoting research, wise use of antibiotics, collaboration among institutions and better diagnostic testing to discover and vanquish antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

The institute will build upon an existing partnership that includes the four universities, the Mayo Clinic, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and many researchers, teachers and clinicians.

Among those leading the project will be Rodney Moxley, a professor of veterinary medicine and biomedical sciences at UNL; Kenneth Bayles, associate vice chancellor for basic research at UNMC; and Christine Petersen, associate professor and director of the Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases at the University of Iowa.

rick.ruggles@owh.com, 402-444-1123

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