Gautam Dantas, PhD

Professor of Pathology and Immunology, and Biomedical Engineering, School of Medicine
Keywords:
antimicrobial resistance, bioinformatics, environmental health, genomics, global health, modeling, malnutrition, healthcare-associated infections, infectious disease
Locations:
El Salvador, Pakistan, Peru

Increasing antibiotic resistance in pathogenic bacteria is one of the greatest current global health threats. This problem is exacerbated by the often imprudent use and overuse of antibiotics in clinical, community and agricultural settings. A quantitative understanding of the risk factors associated with resistance gene dissemination is further complicated by the ability of non-pathogenic bacteria from all habitats to exchange resistance genes with clinical pathogens.

Dr. Dantas and the Dantas Lab studies the ecology, evolution and transmission dynamics of microbes and their antibiotic resistance genes across multiple habitats, towards building better predictive models of resistance selection and dissemination. He conducts such investigations in both resource-rich and resource-poor settings in the U.S., Central America, South America and Africa, to elucidate the impact of features such as geography, cultural traditions, access to clean water, food and health care, population density, and disease endemicity on the exchange of microbes and their resistance genes between interconnected ecologies. 

He is also interested in understanding the mechanism of antibiotic-mediated rescue from malnutrition in pediatric populations in extremely low-income countries, towards developing alternative therapies which may achieve the same benefits but without the collateral harm caused by antibiotic use.

The Washington University Record highlights Dr. Dantas and recent findings on antibiotic resistance