Duke's Lingchong You research examines antibiotic resistance and other medical conditions

As a professor in Duke's Department of Biomedical Engineering, Lingchong You studies and manipulates the dynamics of microbial communities with the goal of developing practical applications in medicine and other fields.
You's research is highlighted in a recent Duke University article.

One of his areas of research involves the growing problem of antibiotic resistance.

“We're facing this antibiotic resistance crisis and there is a huge innovation gap in terms of lack of development of new antibiotics,” You says in the article. “In my view, in the foreseeable future we have to deal with the situation by using the existing antibiotics in a more clever way.”

He and members of his lab have shown that pathogens can pass small bits of DNA that confer antibiotic resistance back and forth among themselves, the article states. These DNA bits are called plasmids, and they get shared in a process called horizontal gene transfer.

In a recent project, You analyzed hundreds of bacterial pathogens that show resistance to beta-lactam antibiotics such as penicillin and its cousins. He found that at least 25 percent of the pathogens can transfer resistance among themselves via horizontal gene transfer. In other words, a cell that has never been exposed to an antibiotic can still contain the plasmid that confers resistance to it.

Read more HERE.