Training Scientists Locally to Solve Problems Globally
Deogratius Mshanga, Tanzanian Research Scientist,
in Dr. Doug Call's laboratory.
resistant bacteria are a major threat to human and animal health- and the
problem is global. This past fall Deogratius Mshanga, a research scientist at the Veterinary
Investigative Centre in Arusha, Tanaznia, came to the Allen School to gain
hands-on experience with detecting antimicrobial resistance in bacteria.
Dr. Doug Call,
professor in the Allen School, is training scientists like Dr. Mshanga to better
understand antimicrobial resistance and recognize the genetic mechanisms
involved. Dr. Mstanga will then take this knowledge back to local research
communities to help scientists study why antibiotic resistance occurs, how it
spreads, and how to control it.
The unregulated use of antibiotics in many resource poor countries
contributes to the spread of antibiotic resistant microbes. But Dr. Call’s
research at the Allen School has found that it is not just antibiotic use that
contributes to this problem. Resistance can be found even when antibiotics are
not being used.
"We have cases where resistance continues in agriculture production because
the genes that cause resistance are linked with other traits that give them an
advantage in these environments," explained Dr. Call. "Microbes can retain
resistance genes for extended periods of time while disseminating to many
populations of animals and humans."
Because understanding the persistence of antibiotic resistance is so complex,
having someone like Dr. Mshanga working with local research teams will help make
big strides in reducing antimicrobial resistance. Dr. Mshanga will return to
Tanzania and work as a field coordinator for an Allen School sponsored research
"Having an experienced field person is invaluable," said Dr. Call. "Because
he knows the culture and the social and physical landscape, Dr. Mshanga brings
enormous benefits to this research."
To date Dr. Call has trained scientists from Tanzania, Kenya, and Nigeria in
the Allen School. Tanzania is a place where locally raised domestic livestock,
people, and wildlife live in close proximity, so it offers a unique research
"Resistance traits can enter through the introduction of new stock into a
herd and these bacteria can then be shared between humans and animals," said Dr.
Call. "In a place like Tanzania where people and animals lives are tied so
closely, we learn much more about the ecology of antibiotic resistance to
benefit both local and broader communities."
To learn more, visit the Paul G. Allen
School for Global Animal Health website.