Ilse Boekhoud – PhD student at LUMC- shares her experience of attending the Eurolife Summer School 2017:
From the 10th to the 14th of July, master- and PhD students had the opportunity to attend the first Eurolife summer school ìn 2017 entitled ‘Antimicrobial drug resistance – Research and Innovation’ at the University of Barcelona.
The LUMC is participating in Eurolife and was represented in Barcelona by two teachers (dr. Peter Nibbering and prof. Ed Kuijper) and one PhD student (Ilse Boekhoud). During this 5-day course various aspects of the global problem of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) were addressed and discussed. Students presented and discussed their own work to exchange thoughts and new ideas.
The first day covered what antimicrobial resistance entails, which molecular mechanisms drive resistance and how it became (and continues to be) a problem for modern medicine. Because the backgrounds of all the participants was extremely diverse, these lectures were a good way to brush up on the basics if necessary. Following up on this was a day focusing on diagnostic tools: what are the routine detection methods and which rapid tools are available? Novel methods were introduced with lectures about proteomics and next generation sequencing and the implications these techniques could have for improved diagnostics in the future. Some excellent speakers gave interactive and practical lectures about antimicrobial stewardship. Professor Wertheim (Radboud University) for instance, spoke about his time as the director of the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit in Hanoi, Vietnam, and discussed the difficulties regarding antimicrobial stewardship in low- to middle income countries: from lack of proper facilities, a low budget and a lack of trained medical microbiologists, to over the counter availability of every possible kind of antibiotic. The lecture emphasized the differences between high-income- and developing countries, and all the work that still needs to be done. On the fourth day novel strategies were discussed, such as using antimicrobial peptides and fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT). A great talk was given by dr. De Sordi (Pasteur Institute) about phage-therapy and a CRISPR-Cas9 system delivered by phagemids to resensitize bacteria for antibiotics. The course finished with business and entrepeneurship and what pharmaceutical companies (can) do to tackle the problem of AMR.
The summer school was intense and very diverse which is a fantastic way to approach the problem of AMR from many different aspects. Because of the large variation of research topics presented by the students, research questions were placed in a much broader perspective. And of course, the organized social activities showed us parts of the beautiful city of Barcelona, letting us discuss research with our peers accompanied by a glass of sangria and a great view.