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Multi-Dimensional Separations for Bacteria Identifications and Investigations of Antimicrobial Resistance

Portrait of Prof. Kelly Hines, speaker
Dr. Kelly Hines
Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry
University of Georgia
iSTEM Building 2, Room 1218
Departmental Colloquium
Analytical Seminar
Special Seminar

Bacterial infections are a major global health concern, with an estimated 1 in 8 deaths attributed to bacterial infections in 2019 alone. When a patient with a suspected infection arrives in a clinical setting, the first step to developing a treatment strategy is to identify the causative pathogen, followed by determination of antimicrobial therapeutics that are appropriate and effective. The challenge for both these essential steps is the requirement for pure cultures and enough colony forming units to perform the identification and susceptibility testing assays. This can equate to several hours to days of culture time after an isolate is collected. Should that bacteria be identified as antibiotic-resistant or multi-drug resistant, the treatment options are limited to last-resort antimicrobials and the risk of death significantly increased. Research in the Hines Lab is leveraging multi-dimensional separations based on ion mobility-mass spectrometry to improve the throughput of bacterial identifications and to delve into the molecular mechanisms that give rise to antimicrobial resistance. Our approach to increasing the throughput of bacteria identifications combines simple extraction methods for the recovery of lipid and metabolites with the power of IM-MS for structural separation of ions to perform rapid and simultaneous multi-omics. Concurrently, we are using advanced lipidomics to investigate the role of the bacterial membrane in the development of antibiotic resistance and the influence of lipids in the infection environment to alter resistance phenotypes.

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