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CeNS Colloquium

Kleiner Physik-Hörsaal N 020, Fakultät für Physik
Date: 14.02.2020, Time: 15:30h

Evolutionary pathways to antibiotic resistance

Prof. Joachim Krug, Institute for Biological Physics, University of Cologne

The rapid and universal emergence of antibiotic resistance in bacterial populations poses a worldwide health care challenge, but also serves as a paradigm of microbial evolution. In many cases the evolution of high levels of resistance requires multiple mutational steps, which can be conceptualized as pathways in the microbial fitness landscape. The talk will review recent efforts combining experimental evolution and theoretical modeling aimed at understanding the constraints imposed by the landscape on these pathways and their predictability. Specifically, a systematic approach based on a scaling hypothesis for the dose-response curves predicts how the landscape structure varies with antibiotic concentration. The landscapes at intermediate concentrations (within the mutant selection window) are found to be highly non-generic, in that they display exponentially many fitness peaks, all of which are however accessible from the non-mutated type.