In the war on antibiotic-resistant bacteria, it's not so much the antibiotics that are making the enemy stronger as it is how they are prescribed. A new study suggests that doctors can beat antibiotic resistance using those same antibiotics but in a very targeted manner and in combination with other health strategies.
The current broad application of antibiotics helps resistant bacterial strains evolve forward. But using data about bacteria’s specific resistances when prescribing those same drugs more precisely can help put the evolution of resistant strains in reverse, according to researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Duke University, and Harvard University who conducted the study.
One researcher cautioned that time is pressing: New strategies against resistance that leverage antibiotics need to be in place before bacteria resistant to most every known antibiotic become too widespread. That would render antibiotics nearly useless, and it has been widely reported that this could happen by mid-century, making bacterial infections much more lethal.
“Once you get to that pan-resistant state, it’s over,” said Sam Brown, who co-led the study and is an associate professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Biological Sciences. “Timing is, unfortunately, an issue in tackling antibiotic resistance.”
The new study, which was co-led by game theorist David McAdams, a professor of business administration and economics at Duke University, delivers a mathematical model to help clinical and public health researchers devise new concrete prescription strategies and those supporting health strategies. The measures center on the analysis of bacterial strains to determine what drugs they are resistant to, and which not.
Some medical labs already scan human genomes for hereditary predispositions to certain medical conditions. Bacterial genomes are far simpler and much easier to analyze, and though the analytical technology is currently not standard equipment in doctors’ offices or medical labs they routinely work with, the researchers think this could change in a reasonable amount of time. This would enable the study’s approach.
The researchers published their study in the journal PLOS Biology on May 16, 2019. The work was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, the Simons Foundation, the Human Frontier Science Program, the Wenner-Gren Foundations, and the Royal Physiographic Society of Lund.
Here are some questions and answers on how the study’s counterintuitive approach could beat back antibiotic resistance:
Isn’t prescribing antibiotics the problem? How can it fight resistance?
The real problem is the broad application of antibiotics. They treat human infections and farm animals, and in the process are killing off a lot of non-resistant bacteria while bacteria resistant to those drugs survive. The resistant strains can then reproduce and with fewer competitors in their space, then they dominate bacterial communities in the host animals and people.
The resistant bacteria get passed to other hosts and become more prevalent in the world altogether. New prescription strategies would outsmart that evolutionary scenario by exposing through genomic (or other) analysis bacteria’s resistance but also their vulnerabilities.
“Right now, there are rapid tests for the pathogen. If you’ve got strep throat, the clinic swabs the bacteria and does a rapid assay that says yes, that’s streptococcus,” Brown said. “But it won’t tell you if it’s resistant to the drug usually prescribed against it. In the future, diagnostics at the point-of-care could find out what strain you’ve got and if it’s resistant.”
Then clinicians would choose the specific antibiotics that the bacteria are not resistant to, and kill the bacteria, thus also stopping them from spreading the genes behind their resistance to other antibiotics. So, identifying an infector’s resistance hits two birds with one stone.
“It’s great for fighting antibiotic resistance, but it’s also good for patients because we’ll always use the correct antibiotic,” Brown said.
[Thinking about grad school? Here's how to apply to Georgia Tech.]
Are there enough effective antibiotics left to do this with?
Plenty. Antibiotics still work as a rule.
In addition, searching out and destroying resistant bacteria could help refresh existing antibiotics’ effectiveness.
“The idea is prevalent that we will use antibiotics up, and then they’re gone,” Brown said. “It doesn’t have to be that way. This study introduces the concept that antibiotics could become a renewable resource if we act on time.”
As mentioned above, prescription strategies by themselves won’t beat resistance, right?
Correct. Resistance evolution has some tricky complexities.
“A lot of bacteria with the potential to make us sick like E. coli spend most of their time just lurking peacefully in our bodies. These are bystander bacteria, and they are exposed to lots of antibiotics that we take for other things such as sore throats or ear aches,” Brown said. “This frequent exposure is probably the major driver of resistance evolution.”
The antibiotic prescription strategy needs those additional health care measures to win the fight, but those measures are pretty straightforward.
What are those additional measures?
Diagnostics need to apply to bystander bacteria, too. E. coli in the intestine or, for example, Strep pneumoniae living peacefully in nostrils would be checked for resistance, say, during annual checkups.
“If the patient is carrying a resistant strain, you work to beat it back before it can break out,” Brown said. “There could be non-antibiotic treatments that do this like, perhaps, bacteria replacement.”
Bacteria replacement therapy would introduce new bacteria into the patient’s body to outcompete the undesirable antibiotic-resistant bacteria and displace it. Also, people would stay home from school and work for a few days so as not to spread the bad bacteria to other people while their immune systems and possibly alternative therapies, such as bacteriophages or non-antibiotic drugs battle the bad bacteria.
This sounds hopeful, but are there other real-world circumstances to consider?
“The study’s mathematical models are broad simplifications of real life,” Brown said. “They don’t take into account that pathogens spend a lot of time in other antibiotic-exposed environments such as farms. Dealing with that is going to require some more research.”
The study also purposely leaves out "polymicrobial infections," which are infections by multiple kinds of bacteria at the same time. The researchers believe that the study’s models can still be relevant to them.
“We expect the logic of combating drug resistance to still hold in these more complex scenarios, but diagnostics and treatment rules will have to be honed for them specifically,” Brown said.
These researchers coauthored the study: David McAdams from Duke University, Kristofer Wollein Waldetoft from Georgia Tech, and Christine Tedijanto and Marc Lipsitch from Harvard University. The research was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (grant OADS BAA 2016-N-17812), the National Institute of General Medical Sciences at the National Institutes of Health (grant U54GM088558), the Simons Foundation (grant 396001), the Human Frontier Science Program (grant RGP0011/2014), the Wenner-Gren Foundations, and the Royal Physiographic Society of Lund.
Media contact/writer: Ben Brumfield
Georgia Institute of Technology
177 North Avenue
Atlanta, Georgia 30332-0181 USA
By Mallory Rosten and Maureen Rouhi
You can’t do gymnastics without using your brain. That’s what Elena Shinohara has learned from her dad. It’s true. When she’s performing, her face is serene. But inside her mind, a lot goes on.
“You have the equipment, and you have your body, and then you have to worry about how clean you are.” And then there’s the artistry. On top of the technical skills, Elena also has to move with the music and perform as a character.
When it all comes together, magic happens. “I’m usually not the first one who talks in class,” Elena says, “I like to express myself with my body. With rhythmic, I can express my feelings with the music.”
Elena is a rhythmic gymnast. This type of gymnastics is performed solely on the floor and involves equipment like clubs, balls, and ribbons. Think figure skating, but without the ice.
Elena’s mom, Namie Shinohara, used to be on the Japanese national rhythmic gymnastics team. As a baby, Elena played with rhythmic equipment. “In first grade, my mom told me I could continue just having fun, or I could compete,” Elena says, “And I wanted to compete, I wanted to go to a higher level.”
Her mom explained what she would have to give up – time hanging out with friends, time spent being lazy and sitting on the couch. Any free moment would have to go to training. At seven years old, Elena knew what she wanted. She said yes.
“The highest my mom went up was sixth place, which is where I am right now,” Elena says. “I feel like we’re connected. She could’ve gone to the Olympics, but she didn’t practice enough. So it’s almost like I’m trying to beat my mom.”
Elena has her sights set on the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, where she was born. But Tokyo is a year away, and to get there, Elena must be selected for the World Championships.
Balancing training with schoolwork is a challenge. Elena came to Tech because she always felt at home here. Her father is Minoru “Shino” Shinohara, an associate professor in the School of Biological Sciences.
Tech is also within driving distance of Suwanee, where the Shinoharas live. Unlike most college students, Elena lives at home so she can train regularly. “We also help her with nutrition and caloric intake,” Shino says. “That’s difficult to do on campus.”
Shino is an expert in applied physiology with a deep understanding of sports science. He and Namie – who is a national rhythmic gymnast coach and international judge – are Elena’s trainers. “We want athletes to use their brains to get better performance,” Shino says.
Shino applies science in coaching Elena. He videotapes Elena’s routines to have a deep look at the movements. “To control your body against gravity, you need to understand the physics and dynamics and then use your neuromuscular system to make it possible.”
Yet what’s most difficult is the mental discipline. “When gymnasts get into competition,” Shino says “their mental state fluctuates. If the mind is not stable, it sends incorrect commands, which create different movements.”
Elena is a biochemistry major, with hopes of becoming a dermatologist. She must use any free moment she has, including the 15 minutes in between classes, to do schoolwork.
“It’s a good balance because when I’m tired of gymnastics, I can do homework. If I’m brain tired of homework, I can work out my body.”
A national competition in July will determine who will represent the U.S. in the World Championships. Before that, Elena participated in two other international competitions in April, in Poland and in Amsterdam. To compete, she missed school for almost the entire month of April, save for four days before finals.
Elena is “beyond mature and prepared,” her faculty advisor, Kimberly Schurmeier says. “If she’s going to miss something, I know weeks in advance. She’s on top of everything and that’s why she’s able to succeed in and outside of class. She’s not the standard student. She has extraordinary talent on top of scholastic aptitude.”
There have been times when Elena wanted to quit.
“I first made it onto the national team in high school, but I wasn’t that good yet. I was like, what’s the point of doing this?” It was her parents who reminded Elena of her potential. “I made a goal to do better at the next nationals. I started to work for it, and it was fun for me to get better and better.”
Earlier this year, she started to fall behind in competitions and again considered giving up. “I thought it was because I didn’t have time to practice,” she recalls. “But it was all mental. I realized I was doing badly because I kept worrying during competitions. If I’m more confident with my skills, I do better. So now I’m working on my mental state.”
It all goes back to the brain. Elena’s team, coached by her parents, is called The Rhythmic Brains, named, by her dad, of course. For Elena, the sacrifices to be at the top of her sport is all worth it, if only for those moments of dancing on the floor, moving with the music with athletic precision and artistry.
Mallory Rosten is a communications assistant in the College of Sciences. She did all the reporting and part of the writing of this story.
A Frontiers in Science Lecture to celebrate 2019, the International Year of the Periodic Table
For more than half a century, dedicated and eager groups of scientists have contrived ways to introduce heavier and heavier elements into the universe. Their efforts finally completed the seventh row of the famous—if poorly understood—periodic table of the chemical elements.
Now all 118 elements have names, even though most spontaneously decay more quickly than you can say “Oganesson” or “Livermorium.”
What now? Continue? Try to start another row? Why? To what end, and at what cost?
This talk will explore the economic, societal, and scientific benefits and drawbacks inherent in this pursuit.
About the Speaker
Monica Halka is an experimental physicist whose research focused on the interaction of light with atoms.
She has coauthored a set of six volumes on the periodic table, which examines historical, astrophysical, and practical observations about each of the chemical elements.
She serves as associate director of the Honors Program at Georgia Tech, where she teaches courses in optics, energy science, and the nuclear age, among others.
About Frontiers in Science Lectures
Lectures in this series are intended to inform, engage, and inspire students, faculty, staff, and the public on developments, breakthroughs, and topics of general interest in the sciences and mathematics. Lecturers tailor their talks for nonexpert audiences.
About the Periodic Table Frontiers in Science Lecture Series
Throughout 2019, the College of Sciences will bring prominent researchers from Georgia Tech and beyond to expound on little-discussed aspects of chemical elements:
- Feb. 6, James Sowell, How the Universe Made the Elements in the Periodic Table
- March 5, Michael Filler, Celebrating Silicon: Its Success, Hidden History, and Next Act
- April 2, John Baez, University of California, Riverside, Mathematical Mysteries of the Periodic Table
- April 18, Sam Kean, Author, The Periodic Table: A Treasure Trove of Passion, Adventure, Betrayal, and Obsession
- Sept. 12, Monica Halka, The Elusive End of the Periodic Table: Why Chase It
- October 31, Taka Ito, Turning Sour, Bloated, and Out of Breath: Ocean Chemistry under Global Warming
- Nov. 12, Margaret Kosal, The Geopolitics of Rare and Not-So-Rare Elements
Closest public parking for the April 2 lecture is Visitors Area 4, Ferst Street and Atlantic Drive, http://pts.gatech.edu/visitors#l3
Refreshments are served, and periodic table t-shirts are given away, after every lecture
Early registration is open for REU students until May 31. Ask your REU adviser for the registration link.
The College of Sciences and iGniTe Summer Launch Program present "Halloween in June," a costume party and variety show to celebrate the International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements.
Come in your best costumes inspired by the periodic table or chemical elements. Winners of various categories will receive fabulous prizes.
Pulsate to the science rock music of Leucine Zipper and the Zinc Fingers (LZZF)
Punk-rock music and science share similar goals—to go boldly (loudly?) where no person has gone before. Leucine Zipper and The Zinc Fingers (LZZF) amalgamate music and science as a synthetic cross-disciplinary project to bring science to the people in a decidedly original medium.
This ain’t your typical outreach education or NSF broader-impacts initiative. This is loud-and-proud and scientifically sound rock and roll! LZZF performs original rock songs, and a few select cover-songs, that are ALL ABOUT SCIENCE! Their songs feature biofilms, enzymes, dinosaurs, entropy, social insects, and more.
Actual scientists (three of four are Georgia Tech faculty) and life-long punk rockers compose the band, so you can be sure that the lyrics are scientifically valid, and the tunes are rabidly arousing. See them live and enjoy the spectacle of Earth's first genetically modified rock band!
The band has performed around Atlanta since 2014 and released their first album Atomic Anarchy, to great critical acclaim, in 2018.
The band’s sound calls to mind the Ramones, Joan Jett, Kiss, or Iggy Pop. That is, if those icons wrote songs about enzymes… – Carmen Drahl, Chemical and Engineering News, 9/30/2018
And as if the second song on their debut CD Atomic Anarchy, “We’re a Science Band” didn’t make it clear enough, their songs are all sort of about science, and science accessories. But they sure don’t sound like they were cooked up in a sterile lab. Nah, they kick it out like they’ve spent years honing their three chords in garages and basements like all good bands do, with an uncomplicated, Ramones-worthy, get in/get out, old school punk style.” – Jeff Clark, Stomp and Stammer, 10/4/2018
Wallow in the dirty science of "Carbon and Cubic Feces" with David Hu
David Hu is an IgNobel Prize winner, mechanical engineering professor at Georgia Tech, and author of "How to Walk on Water and Climb Up Walls: Animal Movement and the Robots of the Future."
Human waste has substantial resource value: human urine contains phosphorus, potassium, nitrogen; and human feces contains mostly carbon. David will talk about the physics of excretion. In the law of urination, he will show that animals urinate for a constant duration, independent of body mass. In their study of cubic feces of the wombat, he will show how soft intestines can form corners in feces.
Laugh out loud with Lew Lefton's science humor
Lew Lefton is a faculty member in the Georgia Tech School of Mathematics, the assistant dean of information technology for the Georgia Tech College of Sciences, and associate vice president for research computing at Georgia Tech. With so many roles, he is a very important person.
But Lew is not just your ordinary VIP or computing/mathematics geek. He's an accomplished and experienced comedian who has done stand up and improv comedy with a geeky twist for over 30 years. His unique talents are best summed up by his business card, which reads: Lew Lefton, Mathematician/Comedian, "He's funny and he can prove it."
Marvel at magic card trick and treats by Matt Baker
Matt Baker is an internationally renowned Georgia Tech mathematics professor by day and an accomplished magician by night. Matt currently serves as associate dean for faculty development in the Georgia Tech College of Sciences.
As a magician Matt has performed three times at the invitation-only Fechter’s Finger Flicking Frolic, the world’s premiere close-up magic convention. In 2018 he recorded a Penguin Live Acts show and lecture in Columbus, Ohio, and spent four days in Spain studying with Juan Tamariz, the world’s greatest living close-up magician. In July 2019, Matt will be lecturing at the International Brotherhood of Magicians Annual Convention in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Matt’s awards for magic include the Atlanta Society of Magicians' Top Dog Award and the Greater Atlanta Magician of the Year award.
Matt's magic tricks have appeared in several national periodicals. He just published his first book of original magic, "The Buena Vista Shuffle Club." World-renowned magician Joshua Jay calls it "an excellent, funny, and personal collection of magic that is a joy to read".
Plus periodic table dart game, photo booth, nitrogen ice cream, food cart, and much, much more!
Changhan David Lee, Ph.D.
Leonard Davis School of Gerontology
University of Southern California
USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center
USC Research Center for Liver Diseases
Cellular homeostasis is coordinated through communication between mitochondria and the nucleus, organelles that each possess their own genomes. Whereas the mitochondrial genome is regulated by factors encoded in the nucleus, the nuclear genome is currently not known to be actively controlled by factors encoded in the mitochondrial DNA. We previously identified a peptide encoded in the mitochondrial DNA, named MOTS-c (mitochondrial open-reading-frame of the twelve S rRNA -c). MOTS-c regulates insulin sensitivity and metabolic homeostasis in an AMPK- and SIRT1-dependent manner. Our recent studies show that MOTS-c rapidly and dynamically translocates to the nucleus to regulate the nuclear genome in response to cellular stress. Within the nucleus, MOTS-c interacts with stress-responsive transcription factors and can bind to chromatin to regulate a range of adaptive gene expression. In mice, MOTS-c expression is age- and tissue-dependent. Further, MOTS-c treatment reversed age-dependent insulin resistance and significantly improved physical capacity and metabolic homeostasis in aged mice and had a considerable impact on lifespan. In humans, a centenarian-related haplogroup in a Japanese population is linked to functional MOTS-c residue variant. Our data suggest the integration of mitochondrial and the nucleus at the genetic level and that the close intergenomic communication regulates cellular homeostasis and aging.
Host: Young Jang
Ryan Hunter, Ph.D.
Department of Microbiology and Immunology
University of Minnesota
The cystic fibrosis airways harbor complex and dynamic microbial communities whose interactions with one another and the host are recognized as major players in pulmonary decline. However, details of their in situ physiology are lacking relative to their behavior on the lab bench. This seminar will focus on two vignettes that address the spatial and temporal in situ dynamics of CF lung microbiota. The first describes a metabolic labeling approach that, when coupled with fluorescent imaging, flow cytometry and genomic approaches, can differentiate actively growing cells from those that are dormant/dead and reveal their taxonomic identities. The second will focus on the role of mucins as a nutrient source for pathogen growth in the lower airways. Specifically, we have revealed a potential role for oral-derived anaerobic bacteria, most commonly thought of as “commensal” flora, in the degradation of respiratory mucins. Mucin-derived metabolites generated through this process can then stimulate the growth and pathogenicity of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and other canonical lung pathogens. This cross-feeding relationship will be discussed in the context of lung disease establishment and progression, and its implications for medical management.
Joseph “Joe” Lachance is one of three College of Sciences junior faculty to win Georgia Tech’s 2019 CTL/BP Junior Faculty Teaching Excellence Award. Jointly supported by the Center for Teaching and Learning and BP America, the award recognizes the excellent teaching and educational innovations that junior faculty bring to campus. Lachance is an assistant professor in the School of Biological Sciences and a former Class of 1969 Teaching Fellow.
As a teacher, Lachance believes his primary role is to help students learn. To accommodate students’ different learning styles, he integrates lectures with a various activities. These can be discussions of the literature or computer simulations of real data. Because empirical datasets can be messy and complex, Lachance says, students must apply critical thinking to get meaningful results, “as opposed to just applying techniques by rote”
Two examples demonstrate the innovative spirit Lachance has brought to the teaching of population genetics and other topics in biology.
For the course Mathematical Models in Biology (BIOL 2400), Lachance organized an iterated Hawk-Dove tournament. Each round involved pairs of students choosing to be aggressive (Hawk) or cooperative (Dove). As the tournament progressed, students adapted to the behaviors of their classmates. “Not only was it fun,” Lachance says, “but the evolving strategies that arose were evidence that every student had gained a deep understanding of game theory.”
"[I]t’s my role to do the best I can to facilitate student learning. Besides, what could be more fun than having a chance to share cutting-edge details about subjects you love?”
For the course Introduction to Evolutionary Biology (BIOL 3600), Lachance hosted an evolution-themed festival, modeled after the annual film festival held by the Society for the Study of Evolution. During the semester, students produced short videos to illustrate concepts of evolutionary biology. On the penultimate class of the semester, Lachance held a film festival featuring the student projects, complete with popcorn, ballots, and a trophy for the top video.
Lachance’s passion for teaching doesn’t go unnoticed. Students note his excitement, enthusiasm, and innovation in class. “His classes have given me and my peers unique opportunities to exercise our creativity with what we are learning,” one student says.
Lachance demonstrates his care for students above and beyond what students expect, this student adds. “He goes out of his way to express his vested interest in his students’ achievements and well-being in the classroom and beyond.”
“It is an honor to be one of this year’s recipients of the CTL/BP Teaching Award,” Lachance says. “As an instructor, it’s my role to do the best I can to facilitate student learning. Besides, what could be more fun than having a chance to share cutting-edge details about subjects you love?”
Prosthetic Orthotic Research Symposium
8:00 – 9:00 am
Géza F. Kogler, PhD, CO
Program Director, Master of Science in Prosthetics and Orthotics,
Georgia Institute of Technology
The Fourth Industrial Revolution and You
Silvia Ursula Raschke, PhD
British Columbia Institute of Technology, Vancouver, Canada
9:00 – 9:15 am
9:15 – 10:15 am
Session I - Orthotics - MSPO Student Capstone Presentations
Moderator - Insueng Kang, MSME
A Test Apparatus to Quantify Orthotic Ankle Joint Torque to Determine AFO Stiffness Requirements
Dansby S, Lemmon B, Bolus N, and Kogler G
Clinical Biomechanics Laboratory
The Influence of AFO Strut Stiffness Properties on Ankle Joint Angle
Sharry RA, Hinks RS, Kogler GF, Chang Y-H
Comparative Neuromechanics Laboratory
Orthotic Interface Design of a Powered Assist Hip Exoskeleton in Subjects with Stroke
Groff A, Thai S, Kang I, Hsu J, Kogler GF, Young A
Exoskeleton and Prosthetic Intelligent Controls (EPIC) Laboratory
10:15 – 10:30 am
10:30 – 11:30 am
Session II - Prosthetics - MSPO Student Capstone Presentations
The Influence of Passive versus Powered Prosthetic Feet During Walking in Felines
Grant CN, Jeffers MK, Childers WL, Herrin, KR, Klishko AN, Dalton JF, Pitkin M, Prilutsky BI
Biomechanics and Motor Control Lab
Effect of Experimental Powered Prosthesis on Hip Kinetics
Spencer M, White B, Herrin K, Young A
Exoskeleton and Prosthetic Intelligent Controls (EPIC) Laboratory
A Self-Attaching Upper Limb Prosthetic/Orthotic Prehensile Interface
Liberatore AG, Poole AG, Hammond FL
Adaptive Robotic Manipulation (ARM) Laboratory
Motor Learning Differences Between Upper Limb Amputation Levels
Hendrix W, Lee J, Alterman B, Lewis Wheaton
Cognitive Motor Control Laboratory
11:30 – 11:45 am
BREAK – Awards Judges Convene
11:45 – 12:00 pm
Award Presentation Ceremony - Outstanding Capstone Research Award
MORE ABOUT THE KEYNOTE
Speaker: Silvia Ursula Raschke, PhD
British Columbia Institute of Technology
Dr. Silvia Raschke is a graduate of Strathclyde University where she did a PhD in Prosthetics and Orthotics with a focus on AFO design and evaluation.
She works at the British Columbia Institute of Technology in Vancouver (Canada) as an applied researcher in the MAKE+ department. Her team-based research gives voice to the end users of products by employing evidence-based practices to explore and organize how people in the community are impacted by product design and/or standards of practice, or lack thereof. Her work is both grant-based peer review work as well as industry-based collaboration. In the prosthetics and orthotics field, projects include the evaluation of prosthetic foot design, development of 3D printed foot orthotics within a direct to consumer model, novel Exoskeleton design and evaluation of 3D printed prosthetic sockets. She co-supervises both BCIT engineering students as well as students from Germany and France, bringing industry-based insights and emphasis to the projects.
She has done work in veterinary product design, including orthotics, along with performance-based research with Canadian Police Dog Services. This work has led to a current role as a team member on a collaboration with the University of Saskatchewan, and the charity Audeamus, in the development of evidence-based practices and training curriculum in the development of a Service Dog Program for Veterans and First Responders with PTSD.
Title: The Fourth Industrial Revolution and You: Critical Thinking, Flexibility, Information Gathering, Disruptive Customer Desires and “Coming Together: for a New Take on Wish Fulfillment
What does any of these things have to do with each other? Or with prosthetics and orthotics? Are you ready for this version of the future, or are you not even thinking about it?
Health care is the one sector lagging in the adoption of innovative approaches and technologies at the intersection of interdisciplinary studies that make up the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Within the health sector, prosthetics and orthotics, along with other assistive technology/rehabilitation engineering fields, are those most suited to benefiting from this disruptive change but lag far behind in embracing the potential.
Why is that?
In a recent presentation on an overview of my career and what the future holds in prosthetics and orthotics I explored the concept of shifting from asking the Why? question to always starting by asking Why not? - in particular when it comes to innovation in prosthetic and orthotics. Today I am going to take you on an expanded version of my professional journey and key points along it, as I paint a picture of the impact the
Fourth Industrial Revolution will likely have on the prosthetics and orthotics sector. A future that is exciting, disruptive, open to creative interpretation and re-invention of self but that will require a nose for critical thinking, flexibility, and openness to new ideas, ways of doing things and freedom from allowing others to define who and what you are. Are you ready?
Marta Wayne, Ph.D.
Department of Biology
University of Florida
Charles F. Baer, Ph.D.
Department of Biology
University of Florida Genetics Institute
Understanding the relative contributions of the different evolutionary forces to phenotypic evolution is a central mission of population and quantitative genetics. As a starting point, it is important to isolate the contributions of mutation from the other forces, because mutation can never be "turned off". A Mutation Accumulation (MA) experiment provides a way to quantify the cumulative effects of mutation in the (near) absence of natural selection. Then, comparison of the properties of genetic variation introduced by mutation to those of the standing genetic variation within and/or between populations provides insight into what natural selection does or does not want.
We use data from a set of C. elegans MA lines to address two fundamental questions in evolution. First, we quantify the amount of mutational input into the mutational process itself. We find that the genome-wide mutation rate evolves significantly upward over a few hundred generations of relaxed natural selection. Second, we compare two independent measures of selection acting on new spontaneous mutations, one of which is conceptually airtight but of limited utility, the other of which is conceptually suspect but of broad utility (and widely applied). Happily (or coincidentally), the two measures agree with within a factor of two. We further show that new spontaneous mutations interact synergistically, potentially explaining why we have not Died 100 Times Over. Finally, we show that the base-substitution spectrum of experimentally accumulated mutations differs significantly from the spectrum of standing rare variants. That discrepancy means either (a) that natural selection skews the spectrum, or (b) mutations accumulated in the lab do not faithfully reflect the natural spectrum. We increasingly suspect the latter.
Host: Soojin Yi, Ph.D.