Leading the initiative to prevent the spread of antibiotic resistance in Florida’s waterways
Focused on the root of the growing antibiotic resistance problem in Florida, our Human Practices Team contacted
the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) for more information about antibiotic resistance in our
state. They also reached out to numerous wastewater treatment plant owners and managers across Florida to
understand how antibiotics can slip through the cracks and put selective pressures on bacteria.
At the core of our Design Team was a passion to understand the mechanisms used to fight off antibiotic resistance. They kept in close contact with professors who are experts in wastewater facilities, as well as owners of the treatment plants to best serve their needs. They designed an engineered E. coli cell to produce an enzyme that degrades erythromycin in the treatment plants, including a kill switch in case the bacteria were to escape the plant.
In a time where we do not have access to a laboratory, the Modeling Team became a crucial part of our project to determine how well our solution could be implemented in treatment plants. Specifically, it was used to see how much bacteria would be needed to get rid of erythromycin in the holding tank. A series of equations and parameters were used for this model to develop the best version of our solution given the obstacles faced.
In such an unconventional year, the Create Team focused on developing the deliverables to iGEM rather than completing laboratory work. This included finding footage and editing the presentation and promotion videos, designing the poster and wiki layout, and inserting the BIOFAB promoters for the contribution bronze medal requirement.
Antibiotic Resistance Statistics
In the US, more than 2.8 million people each year get an antibiotic-resistant infection, resulting in 35,000
In 2017, a worldwide number of 558,000 people developed multi-drug resistant tuberculosis
People infected with methicillin resistant Staphyloccocus aureus (MRSA) are 64% more likely to
die that those with a non-resistant form of infection.
In 2010, 7-15% of patients starting antiretroviral therapy (ART) to treat HIV had drug-
resistant HIV. This will increase cost of 2nd and 3rd generation versions of the drug, having a detrimental economic
It is projected that antibiotic use in cattle and chicken will increase to 67% in populated
countries by 2030.
Leon County, where Tallahassee is located, has the highest rate of chlamydia in the entire state of Florida. Erythromycin is used to treat this sexually transmitted disease that affects every 378 per 100,000 residents of Leon County.