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Environmental Health - Toxic Substances

Investigations - Contaminants of Emerging Concern in the Environment

Microbial Pathogens

The Polymerase Chain Reaction is a DNA-based method used to detect genes in bacteria.
The Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) is one of several types of DNA-based methods used to detect genes (white bands in this picture) in bacteria.

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The need to determine what type of microbial pathogen is responsible for disease has led to the development of many sophisticated assays for bacteria, viruses or protozoa in clinical specimens. However, these methods have rarely been applied to environmental samples. This project adapts existing methods and develops new combinations of bacterial pathogen assays for application to environmental samples. Prioritization for assay development is based on considerations similar to those for chemical contaminants.

Microbial Antibiotic Resistance

Bacteria may become resistant to antimicrobials by acquisition of genes from other bacteria. Bacteria of critical human health concern include vancomycin-resistant enterococci, methicillin- and/or vancomycin-resistant staphylococci, and Escherichia coli (and close relatives) resistant to third-generation cephalosporins and/or fluoroquinolones. This project employs the most up-to-date methods, including gene-based technologies, to the detection of such microbes in the environment.

More Information

  • Project contact: Sheridan Haack

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Page Last Modified: Friday, 14-Apr-2017 15:33:55 EDT