Authors: McArthur AG, Wright GD. Curr Opin Microbiol. 2015 Jul 31;27:45-50.
Antimicrobial resistance is a global health challenge and has an evolutionary trajectory ranging from proto-resistance in the environment to untreatable clinical pathogens. Resistance is not static, as pathogenic strains can move among patient populations and individual resistance genes can move among pathogens. Effective treatment of resistant infections, antimicrobial stewardship, and new drug discovery increasingly rely upon genotype information, powered by decreasing costs of DNA sequencing. These new approaches will require advances in microbial informatics, particularly in development of reference databases of molecular determinants such as our Comprehensive Antibiotic Resistance Database and clinical metadata, new algorithms for prediction of resistome and resistance phenotype from genotype, and new protocols for global collection and sharing of high-throughput molecular epidemiology data.
One of the themes in the McArthurLab is research at the intersection of academia, government, and industry. We endeavour to work with government agencies and industrial partners as much as with fellow academics. This is in part a reflection of our emphasis upon applied research but also my history of starting and owning my own bioinformatics company between being a professor in the United States (until 2006) and starting my faculty position at McMaster (in late 2014). This weekend I had the opportunity to participate in @Mac_Spectrum’s Summer Startup where student teams worked to create a start-up company in 36 hours. I got to meet with a lot of the teams and discuss their start-up strategies as well as give a talk on “Software in Science Entrepreneurship” where I discussed our efforts to partner our antibiotic resistance software with government and industry partners. It was a great weekend and impressive competition. Congratulations to Clear Roots, Avaro, and E-Dopa on their awards!