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SHOW Investigators Study Antibiotic Resistance

The Survey of the Health of Wisconsin and War on Antibiotic Resistance in Wisconsin Teams

New Line of Population Health Research Takes "Guts"

To study Wisconsin's gut microbiome, SHOW investigators have added stood samples and diet records to their data collection. Even though the sample collection involves a significant "ick" factor, the researchers were surprised to find that the 24-hour dietary recall, which takes about an hour to complete on a computer, is typically perceived as a bigger burden. SHOW Co-Director Paul Peppard admits to having had serious concerns about the success of collecting stool samples when the team first brainstormed about it. “But apparently, Wisconsinites have few qualms about handing over their stool for research,” jokes Peppard, Associate Professor of Population Health Sciences. They do it for a compelling reason: to help investigators in the battle against “superbugs,” or microbes that have developed resistance to the antibiotics that have greatly reduced illness and death from infectious diseases since Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin in 1928.

Building on SHOW's infrastructure, the War on Antibiotic Resistance in Wisconsin (WARRIOR) was developed, co-led by PHS Associate Professor Ajay Sethi, in collaboration with other SMPH faculty. SHOW Co-Director Kristen Malecki emphasized that this study "illustrates the importance of cross-campus collaborations in the pursuit of team science." WARRIOR explores uncharted territory because the relationship between diet and the microbiome has not been studied in a community-based setting.

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