Scientists will debate E.coli and the adaption by micro-organisms to modern day drugs

University of Birmingham scientists will meet the public in a debate about some of the most controversial topics in science.

This debate will centre around why humans are constantly under attack from infectious diseases such as E.coli despite medical advances in vaccinations and antibiotics, and how micro-organisms that cause disease evolve and adapt quickly to the many barriers that our bodies' anti-infection strategies and our drugs industry throw at them.

Bio-medical scientists are now using the tools of genetic manipulation of micro-organisms to understand these complex phenomena.  This approach is creating a new understanding of the mechanisms used by disease-causing organisms and is helping scientists find ways to combat the effects of their constant onslaught on the human body. 

The University's School of Biosciences will host the event which will be led by a panel of experts including Professor of Microbiology, Charles Penn, whose expertise is in bacterial pathogens that cause disease in humans.  He says, 'Research in this area provides an excellent example of the positive outcomes that GM methods can yield in biomedical research and this is an ideal opportunity for the public to meet the scientists working at the cutting edge of research in this field.'

Speakers include Mark Pallen, Professor of Microbial Genomics from the University's Medical School, a clinical bacteriologist whose research focuses on disease causation by bacteria and Professor Hugh Pennington, formerly Chair of Bacteriology at the University of Aberdeen, who chaired the Pennington Group Enquiry into the outbreak of E.coli 0157 infection in central Scotland.

The event takes place at the University's School of Biosciences on Tuesday 20th April and tickets can be obtained by calling 0121 414 5410 or by emailing [email protected].  Those who wish to contribute to the discussion beforehand and to propose questions for the panel should visit www.biosciences.bham.ac.uk/tpd/debates

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