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Bacterial Pathogens

Amanda Ojeda wins the trainee research poster competition

Graduate student Amanda Ojeda won best research poster in the EPI Research Day 2023 trainee research poster competition. Her research focused on identifying the prevalence and the composition of Campylobacter species in infants in a rural area of eastern Ethiopia during their first year of life and potential reservoirs. The project was a team collaboration between Ojeda and collaborators at the University of Florida, Haramaya University, Ohio State University, Washington University in St. Louis and Massey University in New Zealand. 

Exploring diversity of bacterial spot associated Xanthomonas population of pepper in Southwest Florida

Bacterial spot caused by spp. is a significant disease that challenges pepper growers worldwide and is particularly severe in a hot and humid environment. Understanding the pathogen’s population biology is critical for sustainable disease management. The goal of this study was to characterize the species, race, and bactericide sensitivity of bacterial spot-associated Xanthomonas collected from pepper in Florida.

Strength in Numbers: Density-Dependent Volatile-Induced Antimicrobial Activity by Xanthomonas perforans

For most of the 20th century, Xanthomonas euvesicatoria was the only known bacterium associated with bacterial spot of tomato in Florida. X. perforans quickly replaced X. euvesicatoria, mainly because of production of three bacteriocins (BCNs) against X. euvesicatoria; however, X. perforans outcompeted X. euvesicatoria even when the three known BCNs were deleted. Surprisingly, we observed antimicrobial activity against X. euvesicatoria in the BCN triple mutant when the triple mutant was grown in Petri plates containing multiple spots but not in Petri plates containing only one spot.

Dynamic 18F-Pretomanid PET imaging in animal models of TB meningitis and human studies

Pretomanid is a nitroimidazole antimicrobial active against drug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis and approved in combination with bedaquiline and linezolid (BPaL) to treat multidrug-resistant (MDR) pulmonary tuberculosis (TB). However, the penetration of these antibiotics into the central nervous system (CNS), and the efficacy of the BPaL regimen for TB meningitis, are not well established.

Molecular Basis of the Toxigenic Vibrio cholerae O1 Serotype Switch from Ogawa to Inaba in Haiti

Toxigenic Vibrio cholerae O1 serotype Ogawa was introduced involuntarily into Haiti in October 2010, and virtually all of the clinical strains isolated during the first 5 years of the epidemic were Ogawa. Inaba strains were identified intermittently prior to 2015, with diverse mutations resulting in a common phenotype. In 2015, the percentage of clinical infections due to the Inaba serotype began to rapidly increase, with Inaba supplanting Ogawa as the dominant serotype during the subsequent 4 years.

Anthrax hotspot mapping in Kenya support establishing a sustainable two-phase elimination program targeting less than 6% of the country landmass

Using data collected from previous (n = 86) and prospective (n = 132) anthrax outbreaks, we enhanced prior ecological niche models (ENM) and added kernel density estimation (KDE) approaches to identify anthrax hotspots in Kenya. Local indicators of spatial autocorrelation (LISA) identified clusters of administrative wards with a relatively high or low anthrax reporting rate to determine areas of greatest outbreak intensity. Subsequently, we modeled the impact of vaccinating livestock in the identified hotspots as a national control measure.