Café com Física



29 de outubro de 2014
Sala Celeste

Michael S. Gilmore
Harvard Medical School. Boston, MA USA

Application of New Genomics Technologies to Understand Antibiotic Resistant Superbugs

Since the initial development of DNA sequencing technologies by Fred Sanger, and by Allan Maxam and Walter Gilbert (for which they were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1980), DNA sequencing technology has advanced at a rate that now significantly exceeds Moore’s Law. Because of this explosion in capacity, the raw cost of generating 1 Mb of sequence data is now less than $ 1.00. As a result, DNA sequencing can be cost-effectively applied to solving many problems, and data is accumulating at a rate that far exceeds exponential growth. The rate of growth of computational power and artificial intelligence has also been following Moore’s Law since 1965. Human experience, however, is largely linear, creating a rapidly growing divide between the accumulation of data, and the human ability to deal with it. The practical challenges of this phenomenon are well described in the book “The Singularity is Near” by MIT/Google’s Ray Kurzweil. We are now in the era of Big Data, and it is creating new challenges and new opportunities. The ability to use DNA sequencing technology to collect data on the microbes that inhabit and infect humans is transforming our understanding of those relationships. We are now beginning to understand how microbes constitute an important aspect of human health – the microbiome – and how they evolved to become antibiotic resistant hospital pathogens in the antibiotic era. In this talk we will examine how our understanding of the microbiome and its importance to human health have evolved in the era of Big Data, and how certain gastrointestinal tract microbes – the enterococci in particular – have changed because of human influences, resulting in leading causes of antibiotic resistant hospital infection. The data suggests that anthropological changes including urbanization, development of hygiene, domestication of animals and the use of antibiotics in agriculture as well as hospitals have all influenced the evolution of the enterococci.