Iowa State University selected to establish new bacteria research center in Ames

Published 10:29 pm Thursday, July 26, 2018

AMES, Iowa — Iowa State University will establish and lead a new research center into antibiotic-resistant bacteria, according to a joint announcement Thursday from two university organizations.

The Institute for Antimicrobial Resistance Research and Education will be based at the Ames campus. The institute’s formation will be a result of a task force on antibiotic resistance in production agriculture created in 2014 by the Association of Public & Land-Grant Universities and the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges.

Federal health officials have said antibiotic-resistant bacteria annually cause at least 2 million illnesses and 23,000 deaths in the United States. The misuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture and overprescription and patient noncompliance in human health care are leading contributors to the resistance problem, experts have said.

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“Antimicrobial resistance touches each of us in our daily lives. This new institute provides a great resource for the entire country as we work to build strong, collaborative research and educational programs to mitigate this risk,” said Dr. Paul Plummer, an Iowa State associate professor who will be the institute’s executive director.

The institute’s mission: serve as a national resource for coordinating and focusing research, education and effective interventions to prevent or reduce antibiotic-resistant bacteria affecting people, animals and the environment.

The two organizations said Iowa State’s proposal was chosen from among nine submitted by major universities because of the depth of existing activities and resources already in place.

Iowa State’s proposal included a substantial upgrade of an existing university-based research and education program called the Antimicrobial Resistance Consortium. The university will partner with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the University of Nebraska Medical Center, the University of Iowa and the Mayo Clinic, which were all involved with consortium.

The institute initially will be funded by Iowa State and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln at $525,000 a year for three years. The institute also will be supported through grants.