Antibiotic Resistance

Resistance to antibiotics has become a growing threat to global public health. More than two million people each year in the U.S. alone suffer from serious infections that are resistant to one or more drugs from our existing antibiotic repertoire, resulting in over 20,000 deaths.

The use and over-use of existing antibiotics are the primary cause of emerging antibiotic resistance, and have rendered many antibiotics ineffective. Meanwhile, development of new antibiotic treatments has not kept pace with need.

Broad scientists are working on many fronts to address the threat of antibiotic resistance, employing approaches rooted in genomics, synthetic biology, chemical biology, and systems biology to:

  • Study the genetic diversity and evolutionary biology of pathogens to better understand the mechanisms underlying resistance
  • Use network biology approaches to understand how antibiotics act, how bacterial defense mechanisms evolve, and how resistant strains emerge
  • Search for new targets for therapeutics that might circumvent mechanisms of resistance