Workshops and Institutes

Investigating the Evolution of Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria

July 15, 2014 - July 16, 2014


During this two-day workshop teachers will work to analyze and interpret data sets that help us understand the evolutionary theory that explains the development of antibiotic resistant strains of the bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus. Participants will come away with strategies for using genetic data with their students to examine evolutionary relationships among bacteria, a deeper understanding of evolutionary biology, and video and written resources for teaching about evolution.

Dr. Paul Planet at Columbia University, has identified and dated a gene transfer event that has enhanced the ability of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) to colonize skin and cause disease. The workshop will use Dr. Planet's work as a case study to delve into the origins of pathogenesis in the context of the human microbiome. How does Staph, as a resident of humans, live in its environment?  What are the selection pressures within this environment?  And how does the microbiome act as a gene reservoir for this organism's evolution? Participants will explore evolutionary principles that help us answer these questions and gain experience with techniques for using genes to understand the evolution of bacteria.

This workshop is most appropriate for high school biology teachers.


This material is based upon work supported by the US Army Research Laboratory and Office under Grant No. W911NF-10-1-0339.