Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a rapidly-spreading phenomenon which threatens to make once-treatable bacterial infections deadly again. The collaboration between Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham’s School of Biotechnology and Tata Institute of Genetics and Society (TIGS) will focus on developing new tools to reverse antibiotic resistance in pathogens like Pseudomonas aeruginosa which have been declared as ‘critical priority’ by the World Health Organization. The joint research by the two institutions holds the potential to develop novel sustainable strategies to counter the global menace of multi-drug resistant (MDR) organisms. Antimicrobial resistance is increasingly globally at an alarming rate, making it difficult to treat even the most common and community-onset infections. However, despite the dangerous increase in multidrug resistance, there are very limited options and strategies available to address this crisis.

Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham's School of Biotechnology has joined with Tata Institute of Genetics and Society (TIGS) under the aegis of University of California, San Diego (UCSD) to conduct cutting-edge research in antimicrobial resistance (AMR), a rapidly-spreading phenomenon which threatens to make once-treatable bacterial infections deadly again and jeopardize the delivery of modern medicine. TIGS is a partnership between the University of California San Diego, Tata Trusts and the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, Bangalore, India.

Talking about the collaboration, Dr. Bipin Nair, Dean of Amrita School of Biotechnology, said: “Recent studies have led to the identification of many genes in pathogenic microorganisms that are responsible for resistance to antibiotics. WHO has classified multi-drug resistant bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa as a ‘Critical Priority’ pathogen with a global unmet need for alternative measures of elimination and treatment in hospital environments. The present collaboration between Amrita School of Biotechnology (ASBT) and the Tata Institute for Genetics and Society (TIGS) will focus on developing new tools to reverse antibiotic resistance. It holds the potential to develop novel sustainable strategies to counter the global menace of multi-drug resistant (MDR) organisms.”

The tie-up between the two institutions derives inspiration from earlier work done between ASBT and the University of California San Diego (UCSD) in establishing the mechanism of action of natural products like clove bud oil to inhibit quorum sensing in Pseudomonas aeruginosa and attenuate virulence. In addition, funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Department of Biotechnology, Govt. of India as well as Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) to Amrita School of Biotechnology has also resulted in new strategies deploying bacteriophages to counter the virulence of MDR bacterial pathogens.

“This MoU signed between TIGS-UCSD and Amrita School of Biotechnology will pave the way for cutting-edge research in antimicrobial resistance for the benefit of humanity,” added Professor Suresh Subramani, Global Director, Tata Institute for Genetics and Society.

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