Bartlomiej Waclaw: The physics of drug resistance
- Date: Nov 22, 2017
- Time: 11:00 - 12:00
- Speaker: Bartlomiej Waclaw from the School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Edinburgh
- Please find more information on the speaker here: https://www.ph.ed.ac.uk/people/bartlomiej-waclaw
- Location: MPI Plön
- Room: Lecture hall
- Host: Arne Traulsen
Resistance to drugs is now recognized as one of the most important medical and societal problems. Bacteria can become resistant to antibiotics in a matter of hours, making many antibiotics used to treat human and animal infections increasingly ineffective. Similarly, cancer cells often develop resistance to chemo- and targeted therapy that eventually leads to cancer recurrence. A better understanding of these processes is necessary if we want to improve the therapy outcome and make the existing and newly discovered drugs useful for as long as possible.
In this talk I will first briefly recapitulate my research trajectory through the physics of drug resistance. I will show some interesting parallels between the evolution of resistance in populations of bacteria and cancerous tumours. I will explain how physical processes such as mechanical interactions between cells and heterogeneities in the distribution of the drug affect the rate with which resistant cells spread. I will also show how little is still known about molecular mechanisms of drug action and drug resistance, and how this can be improved by combining experiments and mathematical modelling.
Lastly, I will discuss some intriguing possibilities for future research: how experimental and theoretical models could be used to optimize antimicrobial and anticancer treatment, and how physics and chemistry could help to limit the growth and evolution of resistance in microbial biofilms.