Solids recovered from human and veterinary waste-streams are high in carbon and nutrients and therefore a valuable resource for amending agricultural soil. However, amended soils have been identified as reservoirs of antimicrobial resistance genes (ARGs). Although ARGs have been detected, the fate of the genes is poorly understood. Emily will study the stability of ARGs introduced to engineered reactors and the environment and evaluate ARG transfer mechanisms.
1. Dynamics of ARGs throughout engineered treatment systems
Emily studies the fate genetic elements that harbor ARGs (extracellular DNA, intracellular DNA and plasmids) through engineered treatment systems and the receiving environments by isolating these fractions and employing molecular and bioinformatic techniques to classify resistance. Currently, Emily is investing ARG-fate through dairy cow manure treatment systems.
2. HGT Modelling in Environment Reservoirs
Models are required for these ARG reservoirs to determine whether a resistant phenotype will be stable, lost, or even disseminated through the microbial community. Using network-based approaches and building from established models of microbial interactions, Emily will propose mathematical models to predict HGT frequency.
ITiMS Co-Mentors: Lutgarde Raskin, PhD, Indika Rajapakse, PhD & Krista Wigginton, PhD