Welcome to PLNU Microbiology
When asked what pollution is, many people think of chemicals and trash, but DNA can also be a pollutant. The Point Loma Nazarene University Microbiology Lab is currently working to better understand the persistance of plasmid mediated antibiotic resistant genes in urban wetlands, especially those in Southern California. These antibiotic resistance genes are often part of the human impact on these fragile ecosystems, resulting from contaminated runoff water. Further, wetlands act as resoirvoirs for these genes, allowing clinically relevant antibiotic resistance genes to accumulate, often on small pieces of transferrable DNA called plasmids.
Unfortunately what happens in the wetland doesn't stay in the wetland. Many studies have shown that birds can act as vectors carrying antiotic resistant bacteria along with them on their travels. So even if you don't go to the wetland directly, the large shorebird population in these wetlands has the potential to bring the bacteria to you.
"So what!" you might say. Antibiotic resistant bacteria pose one of the largest clinical health threats in the U.S. and globally (Center for Disease Control...add citation). Thus, an environment like these wetlands that provide ideal conditions for bacteria to acquire novel types and combinations of antibiotic resistance genes combined with their proximity to large human populations make them quite important. Our work aims to study plasmid bound antibiotic resistance genese in these wetlands, with the specific goal of attempting to capture and characterize novel antibiotic resistance encoding plasmids.