Michigan State University students and faculty work together to decrease global risks of antimicrobial resistance

U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker (right) representing Mississippi attended the American Society for Microbiology Hill’s Day of Antimicrobial Resistance in Washington, D.C. while meeting with Seto Ogunleye (left), a veterinary medical science doctoral candidate from MSU who specializes in infectious disease and immunology. (Photo submitted)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State University is teaming up with international partners to mitigate the dangers of antimicrobial resistance globally, striving for a safer and healthier future.

Seto Ogunleye, a doctoral candidate at MSU specializing in veterinary medical science with a focus on infectious disease and immunology, recently took part in the American Society for Microbiology Hill’s Day of Antimicrobial Resistance in Washington, D.C. The event enabled policymakers to gain insight from scientists and experts on the importance of cutting-edge research to reduce the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance in the United States and around the world.

“It is crucial for us to combat resistant pathogens together,” Ogunleye commented. “This issue is not limited to the United States alone—it is a global concern. That is why having the support of policymakers and adopting a One Health approach to enhance research on antimicrobial resistance is so vital.”

Several factors contribute to the development of antimicrobial resistance.

“Antimicrobial resistance is a natural occurrence that happens when pathogens are exposed to antimicrobial agents, causing the likelihood of pathogen resistance to increase over time,” he explained. “In addition, using an antibiotic in a dosage lower than prescribed fails to effectively eliminate pathogens and can lead to resistance.

“It is important to encourage the development of new antimicrobial agents to combat these pathogens and to promote adaptability and responsible use of antimicrobial agents. Furthermore, vaccination plays a pivotal role in preventing pathogen infection, reducing the need for subsequent treatment.”

Hossam Abdelhamed, a faculty member at MSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine and principal investigator of an antimicrobial resistance project funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture, noted that antimicrobial resistance is a significant issue in various sectors of animal production, including aquaculture.

“Appropriate antimicrobial stewardship is crucial to maintaining the effectiveness of antimicrobial agents and ensuring that aquaculture producers have suitable treatment options to maximize production efficiency, profitability, and sustainability,” Abdelhamed stated.

MSU is at the forefront of efforts to reduce disease burdens in the aquaculture industry through innovative tools and advancements in antimicrobial resistance research. The university is home to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization Reference Center on Antimicrobial Resistance and Aquaculture Biosecurity, which is part of MSU’s Global Center for Aquatic Health and Food Security (GCAHFS) under the College of Veterinary Medicine. The designation of MSU as an FAO Reference Center underscores the university’s expertise and global leadership in the field of antimicrobial resistance and aquaculture biosecurity.

“MSU faculty, staff, and students are collaboratively working with partners from across the nation and the world to find innovative solutions to the threat of antimicrobial resistance,” said Stephen Reichley, head of the FAO Reference Center on Antimicrobial Resistance and Aquaculture Biosecurity, associate director of GCAHFS, and a faculty member of the College of Veterinary Medicine. “Abdelhamed and his research team have achieved impressive and impactful results that are shaping our approach. Ogunleye’s participation in the ASM Hill’s Day of Antimicrobial Resistance is an excellent example of the involvement of our graduate students in this work.”

To learn more about GCAHFS, visit www.gcahfs.msstate.edu. More information on the FAO Reference Center on Antimicrobial Resistance and Aquaculture Biosecurity can be found at www.gcahfs.msstate.edu/projects/fao-reference-center-antimicrobial-resistance-and-aquaculture-biosecurity.

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