Nuclear Weapons

New Antibiotic Resistance Case Study for Dual-Use Education

05.07.07 | 2 min read | Text by Michael Stebbins & Ivan Oelrich

The Federation of American Scientists has added a fifth Case Study to our Dual-Use Research education series. This new case study focuses on the work of Dr. Stuart Levy of Tufts University School of Medicine in antibiotic resistance. Dr. Levy is also a member of the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB).

Dr. Levy’s lab identified a gene in Yersinia pestis, the causative agent of plague, that was similar to an E. coli multiple antibiotic resistance gene. A non-virulent strain of Y. pestis overexpressing the gene was resistant to several common antibiotics, including those typically used to treat plague infection. The case study includes a history of antibiotics and resistance, a description of the experiments as well as an in-depth interview with Dr. Levy discussing the work, its implications, and his perspectives on dual-use research. Dr. Levy is also one of the members of the NSABB, which is involved in developing strategies for oversight of dual-use research.

FAS is has also launched a survey for the case studies. To thank participants for completing the survey, we will enter them into a drawing for an 8GB iPod nano. Click here to go to the case studies or here to go directly to the survey. The survey is open through May 31, 2007.

The first four case studies include an introduction to biosecurity, the poliovirus synthesis experiments conducted in Eckard Wimmer’s laboratory at the State University of New York at Stony Brook; the porous particle development work of David Edwards at Harvard University; and the mousepox experiments conducted by two Australian researchers, Ron Jackson and Ian Ramshaw.