Iowa State University has been charged with establishing and hosting a new national Institute for Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Research and Education. The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) chose ISU to lead the institute, which will utilize a One Health approach to comprehensively tackle the AMR problem.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, antibiotic-resistant bacteria cause at least 2 million illnesses and 23,000 deaths in the U.S. every year, costing approximately $20 billion a year in direct health care costs and up to $35 billion in lost productivity.
The new institute is the result of a joint task force on antibiotic resistance in production agriculture created by AAVMC and APLU in 2014, which released a report offering research and education recommendations designed to address the AMR problem.
“The misuse of antibiotics is a major reason why antimicrobial resistance is a rapidly growing threat to human, animal, and environmental health,” said Ian Maw, vice president, Food, Agriculture & Natural Resources, APLU. “While the problem is well understood, the path to advancing solutions has been blurry. It’s clear we need a coordinating body to organize research and education activities so we can make meaningful progress to reverse this trend. Solving big problems like antimicrobial resistance goes right to the heart of the research and engagement missions of public and land-grant universities.”
Paul Plummer, DVM, Ph.D., DACVIM-LAIM, who leads an existing ISU Antimicrobial Resistance Consortium, will serve as executive director of the new institute.
“Antimicrobial resistance touches each of us in our daily lives. This new institute provides a great resource for the entire country as we work to build strong, collaborative research and educational programs to mitigate this risk,” said Dr. Plummer, associate professor of veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine at Iowa State.
ISU will partner with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the University of Nebraska Medical Center, the University of Iowa, and the Mayo Medical Clinic, all of which are involved with its existing consortium. The institute will also partner with two major USDA agricultural research service facilities and various agricultural stakeholders representing over one-fourth of the U.S. swine and beef industries.