microbial ecology and antibiotics

RGyure rgyure at aol.com
Sat Jan 28 15:54:46 EST 1995

I am new to the group, so let me introduce myself. I ama microbial
ecologist and I currently teach general microbiology, genetics, and
ecology at a small college in Madison Wisconsin (Edgewood College).
I have been teaching for many years, but have not had the opportunity to
do research. At this time our college is shifting resources and
responsibilities so that we will be able to do so, and I have now been
able to assemble a small group of interested students, some funds, and the
time to begin a project.

My interest is in natural microbial communities, and the role of
antibiotics in interspecies competition. In the broader pictutre, I feel
that if we understand microbial response to and production of antibiotic
compounds more fully, we can begin to conceive of better ecological
strategies for combatting infections in humans. 

More specifically, I would like to begin looking at various soil isolates
and observe their response to dofferent levels of antibiotic, different
modes of application (pulsed vs. continuous), application at different
stages in the life cycle, and application in presence of other chemical
and env. factors. These expts would be done on ind. populations (cultured
in the lab), and then I'd like to move on to observing interspecies
dynamics. I also have some experience working with continuous culture.

I have assembled an extensive ref. list am am wading thru it to bring
myself back up to speed in the field, but would appreciate any help forom
those of you actively working on related topics. Am I completely naive or
is this an area worth investigating? I have not so far read anything in
the literature that answers my questions. Students are very interested,
and this seems like a project that can be done giving the resource
limitations we have at our college. I have a feeling that such inquiries
would soon head toward a molecular approach, and I do have training in the
techniques of molecular genetics and biochemistry. I have also worked
extensively with radioisotopes, and that would be possible for us too.

In particular-- I am wondering about safety restrictions and regulations
for working with antibiotic resistance in the laboratorty. Our facilities
are not modern (we are currently building a new science complex). I don't
want to do anything that would be risky to students, myself or
environment. Other than taking standard precautions like autoclaving all
wastes-- are there other restrictions I should be aware of?

Thanks out there! 
Ruth Gyure, Edgewood College, Madison WI
Respond to Rgyure @aol.com    or    gyure at edgewood.edu

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