Learning about Microbes and Antimicrobials

August 16, 2011
School of Medicine, Kochi

Which specific testing method is used for the detection of Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus?

“mecA gene detection by PCR,” answered Amrita participants, Ms. Neeba Jayasurya, Senior Supervisor and Mr. Vinod B., Scientific Assistant, both of the Department of Microbiology at the Amrita School of Medicine.

Neeba-Jayasurya and Vinod-B.

The duo was participating in a quiz competition organized by the Department of Microbiology at the Malabar Institute of Medical Sciences, Calicut. They subsequently won the first and second prizes in the quiz respectively.

The quiz competition was conducted as a part of the conference and workshop titled, Microbes and Antimicrobials – An Update. The conference-workshop focused on antibiotic resistance and various approaches to prevent the indiscriminate use of antibiotics.

In addition to representatives from Amrita, nearly 100 delegates attended the conference from several institutions including CMC Vellore; Apollo Hospitals, Chennai; KIMS Trivandrum; Calicut Medical College; Jubilee Mission, Trichur as well as several private clinical laboratories.


Microbes and Antimicrobials was an important forum for clinicians, researchers and clinical microbiologists to deliberate on the latest developments in infectious diseases, antimicrobial usage and related topics,” shared Ms. Neeba.

The forum brought together scientists and physicians who discussed the applications of latest clinical and microbiological guidelines.

“The single-round quiz competition covered almost all topics related to antibiotics,” shared Mr. Vinod. “We could answer some of the important questions that were asked. For example, we could easily provide the expansion of MLSBi and MLSBc – Inducible Macrolide Lincosamide streptograminB Resistance and Constitutive Macrolide Lincosamide streptograminB Resistance.”


“There were so many questions based on the routine practices in our laboratory. As an example, we were asked what the checker board assay was used for. We knew the answer – it was used for testing antibiotic concentration,” he added.

“By attending the conference we could also add to our knowledge on various important topics such as methods of performing antibiotic susceptibility testing, mechanism of action and classification of antibiotics, detection of antimicrobial resistance in laboratory and its demonstration, the role of microbiology lab in reporting most accurate results.”

“In addition, we learned about pitfalls in interpretation of culture reports, pattern of antimicrobial resistance prevalent in South India, pharmacokinetic / pharmacodynamic principles for effective antibiotic use in the era of antibiotic resistance and impact of antibiotic resistance in clinical practice.”


Acknowledging the support and help received from Dr. Shamsul Karim, Professor and Head at the Department of Microbiology and Dr. Kavitha Radhakrishnan, Professor, who encouraged them to attend the conference-workshop, Ms. Neeba and Mr. Vinod gratefully thanked their two mentors.

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