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Antibiotics

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Boston 25 News

Prof. James Collins speaks with Boston 25 reporter Julianne Lima about the growing issue of antibiotic resistant bacteria and his work using AI to identify new antibiotics. Collins explains that a new platform he developed with Prof. Regina Barzilay uncovered “a host of new antibiotics including one that we call halicin that has remarkable activity against multi drug-resistant pathogens.”

The Wall Street Journal

The Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence has awarded Prof. Regina Barzilay a $1 million prize for her work advancing the use of AI in medicine, reports John McCormick for The Wall Street Journal. "Regina is brilliant, has very high standards, and is committed to helping others,” says Prof. James Collins. “And I think her experience with—her personal experience with cancer—has motivated her to apply her intellectual talents to using AI to advance health care.”

Associated Press

The AP highlights how Prof. Regina Barzilay has been named the inaugural winner of a new award given by the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence for her work “using computer science to detect cancer and discover new drugs has won a new $1 million award for artificial intelligence.”

Stat

Prof. Regina Barzilay has been named the inaugural recipient of the Squirrel AI Award for Artificial Intelligence to Benefit Humanity for her work developing new AI techniques to help improve health care, reports Rebecca Robbins for STAT. Robbins writes that Barzilay is focused on turning the “abundance of research on AI in health care into tools that can improve care.”

SciDevNet

A study by researchers from MIT’s Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) finds antibiotic resistance in some types of bacteria may be reversed using hydrogen sulphide, reports Melanie Sison for SciDevNet. “This is a very exciting discovery because we are the first to show that H2S can, in fact, improve sensitivity to antibiotics and even reverse antibiotic resistance in bacteria that do not naturally produce the agent,” says Wilfried Moreira, a principal investigator at SMART.

Guardian

MIT researchers have engineered wasp venom to kill bacteria, reports Chukwuma Muanya for The Guardian. The researchers found that the altered peptides wiped out the antibiotic-resistant bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa within four days.

Forbes

Forbes reporter Fiona McMillan writes that MIT researchers have engineered an anti-bacterial peptide found in wasp venom in an effort to create a new antibiotic. McMillan writes that the researchers, “gained new insight into which structural attributes work best, either alone or in combination. In this way, they were able to tweak the peptide’s structure to obtain optimal function.”

Boston Herald

Boston Herald reporter Jordan Graham writes that MIT researchers have used the venom from a South American wasp to engineer a new type of antibiotic. “The idea here is to take that very well-crafted toxin and turn it into something that can be useful for humans and our society,” explains César de la Fuente Nunez, a postdoc at MIT.

United Press International (UPI)

A study by MIT researchers successfully eradicated two strains of drug-resistant bacteria using encapsulated probiotics and antibiotics, writes UPI reporter Allen Stone. The researchers believe “these probiotics can replenish the gut microbiome after treatment with antibiotics,” and they hope to use this method to develop new types of bandages.

Scientific American

A new study by MIT researchers provides evidence that antibiotics can change the body’s chemistry and make it more hospitable to bacteria, reports Melinda Wenner Moyer for Scientific American. “We suspect that the strength of this effect will really depend on the type of infection and types of antibiotics used,” explains postdoc Jason Yang. 

The Boston Globe

Prof. Thomas Levenson writes for The Boston Globe about the potential impact drug-resistant bacteria could have on the future of surgery. “As more and more bacteria show resistance to antibiotics, the risks change — to the point that doctors and patients alike may soon face agonizing choices about whether or when to take a chance on many of the surgeries we now accept as a matter of course,” says Levenson.  

Popular Science

In an article for Popular Science, Kate Baggaley speaks with Prof. Timothy Lu and postdoc César de la Fuente about strategies they are developing to tackle antibiotic resistance. Lu explains that researchers are attempting to develop an arsenal of treatments to “be able to come at the problem from a variety of different ways.”

NPR

Angus Chen reports for NPR that MIT and Harvard researchers have captured footage showing bacteria invading antibiotics and transforming into superbugs. Postdoc Tami Lieberman explains that she hopes the visualization will help illustrate that “drug resistance is not some abstract threat. It's real."

Popular Science

Loren Grush of Popular Science writes about a new type of antibiotic developed by MIT researchers that could help kill drug-resistant bacteria. “[T]he team developed their own gene-editing system, capable of turning off certain bacterial genes that spur antibiotic resistance,” Grush explains. 

BBC News

A team led by Professor Timothy Lu has developed a new class of antibiotic that can selectively kill bacteria based on their genes, reports Michael Eyre for BBC News. "This is an enabling toolkit for the basic scientists to now start probing these systems a little bit better,” says Lu.