25 Days of CoDI: Day 24

On the penultimate day of CoDI Clare was quick to warn me, of the antibiotic apocalypse I could never see!

Clare Taylor: The Antibiotic Apocalypse Threatens Us All!

So tell us, who is Clare Taylor?

I am a Senior MedicalMicrobiology Lecturer at Edinburgh Napier University and currently General Secretary of the Society for Applied Microbiology. I’m also a Beltane Fellow (they tell me it is for life) and enjoy discussing science with pretty much anyone who will listen!

My scientific passion is for bacteria that invade human cells and cause infection, known as intracellular pathogens. In my lab we work on Salmonella and Listeria, two bacteria that are commonly associated with foodborne infection. We are trying to understand aspects of how these bacteria interact with humans during infection.

Furthermore, we are also trying to use our growing knowledge to effectively turn these bacteria against themselves. For example, by developing novel antimicrobial therapeutics that exploit some of the bacterium’s own ‘weapons’.  I’ve performed 3 shows at CODI during the Fringe in 2014 and 2015 and I am looking forward to some lively debate about my research this year too!

We always enjoy your CoDI appearances, what have you got in store for us this year?

Antibiotics are a type of therapeutic agent that are used to treat bacterial infection. We have been using them in human medicine since the 1940s but they are also widely used in veterinary medicine and to promote growth of livestock.  But why are we hearing more and more about the ‘antibiotic apocalypse’ (just Google: antibiotic apocalypse…)?

Experts, including clinicians and microbiologists are talking about antibiotic resistance more and more, but do you know what this actually means? When surveyed, almost a third of respondents described antibiotic resistance as “it’s the body becoming resistant to antibiotics”.CODI 13.08.15 Women, science is still not for you (credit Dee Davison)

Tell us more…

In actual fact, it means that antibiotic resistant bacteria can no longer be treated with a particular type of antibiotic. Therefore, if we get an infection with one of these bacteria, we can’t treat it with the antibiotic of choice. This means it is down to who wins the battle – body or bacterium – that determines whether you survive or not.

This all sounds very serious, doesn’t it? And what is this apocalyptic scenario that many are referring to? Come and see the show to ask questions to find out. In addition, I’ll tell you about some of the work we are doing in the lab to try and develop alternative ways of treating infection. Who knows,  you might even get the chance to do your bit for scientific research.

Clare’s show takes place on Saturday 27th August, Stand in the Square (Venue 372), 3-4pm, £8 (£6)

Purchase tickets at:http://www.outstandingtickets.com/show/120/performance/1557/book-tickets

Antibiotic apocalypse