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Bugs, drugs and guts

Pratik Shah | TEDxBeaconStreet

Our guts are packed with tiny bacteria–some that help and some that harm. The “bad bugs” that cause diarrheal infections kill millions. The antibiotics we’ve relied on to treat these diseases kill the bad bugs, but also their friendly counterparts. And meanwhile, antibiotic resistance is a growing complication.

So what if we could make bad bugs more friendly? Dr. Pratik Shah of The Broad Institute of MIT, Harvard, and Massachusetts General Hospital, will share a new and unconventional approach to manage and treat diarrheal infections by providing a new on-demand food delivery service to bacteria. By making peace with bad bugs versus killing them, we now can change the landscape of disease management and engender a new era of low-cost designer therapies.

Dr. Pratik Shah identified several novel pathways and metabolites associated with gastrointestinal infections, that can be used to design the next-generation of vaccines and drugs. He’s discovered a new vaccine component to protect against bacterial pneumonia that is undergoing clinical trials. Shah uses front-line high throughput technologies in amalgamation with antidisciplinary approaches to design next-generation vaccines and therapies for infectious diseases.