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Tag: Jim Collins

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When an antibiotic fails: MIT scientists are using AI to target “sleeper” bacteria

Since the 1970s, modern antibiotic discovery has been experiencing a lull. Now the World Health Organization has declared the antimicrobial resistance crisis as one of the top 10 global public health threats.

When an infection is treated repeatedly, clinicians run the risk of bacteria becoming resistant to the antibiotics. But why would an infection return after proper antibiotic treatment? One well-documented possibility is that the bacteria are becoming metabolically inert, escaping detection of traditional antibiotics that only respond to metabolic activity. When the danger has passed, the bacteria return to life and the infection reappears.

“Resistance is happening more over time, and recurring infections are due to this dormancy,” says Jackie Valeri, a former MIT-Takeda Fellow (centered within the MIT Abdul Latif Jameel Clinic for Machine Learning in Health) who recently earned her PhD in biological engineering from the Collins Lab. Valeri is the first author of a new paper published in this month’s print issue of Cell Chemical Biology that demonstrates how machine learning could help screen compounds that are lethal to dormant bacteria. Learn more
Screenshot of Zoom interview between Eric Topol (left) and Jim Collins (right)

Jim Collins: Discovery of the First New Structural Class of Antibiotics in Decades, Using A.I.

Jim Collins is one of the leading biomedical engineers in the world. He’s been elected to all 3 National Academies (Engineering, Science, and Medicine) and is one of the founders of the field of synthetic biology. In this conversation, we reviewed the seminal discoveries that he and his colleagues are making at the Antibiotics-AI Project at MIT. Learn more
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Why Casey Left Substack, Elon Musk and Drugs, and an A.I. Antibiotic Discovery

Casey is taking his newsletter Platformer off Substack, as criticism over the company’s handling of pro-Nazi content grows. Then, The Wall Street Journal spoke with witnesses who said that Elon Musk had used LSD, cocaine, ecstasy and psychedelic mushrooms, worrying some directors and board members of his companies. And finally, how researchers found a new class of antibiotics with the help of an artificial intelligence algorithm used to win the board game Go.

Today’s guests:

Kirsten Grind, enterprise reporter for The Wall Street Journal

Felix Wong, postdoctoral fellow at M.I.T. and co-founder of Integrated Biosciences

Additional Reading:

Why Platformer is leaving Substack.

Elon Musk has reportedly used illegal drugs, worrying leaders at Tesla and SpaceX.

Researchers have discovered a new class of antibiotics using A.I. Learn more
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A year of discovery

Why it matters: the world is in urgent need of new ideas and inspiration to address chronic and infectious diseases, climate change, energy demands and other complex and consequential problems.

Here are some of the biggest discoveries and advances of 2023...

AI-assisted discovery: The push to use AI for science notched some advances in 2023 — including solving a famous math problem, finding a new class of antibiotics and predicting the structure of nearly 400,000 possible new materials, which are needed for next-generation batteries, solar cells and computing. Learn more
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Using AI, MIT researchers identify a new class of antibiotic candidates

Using a type of artificial intelligence known as deep learning, MIT researchers have discovered a class of compounds that can kill a drug-resistant bacterium that causes more than 10,000 deaths in the United States every year. Learn more
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New Class of Antibiotics Discovered Using AI

Antibiotic resistance is among the biggest global threats to human health. It was directly responsible for an estimated 1.27 million deaths in 2019 and contributed to nearly five million more. The problem only got worse during the COVID pandemic. And no new classes of antibiotics have been developed for decades. Learn more
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What Am I Thankful for This Year? Amazing Scientific Discoveries.

I’ll wager that the event of 2023 that will change our lives the most in coming years is not the sighting of a Chinese spy balloon, the failure of Silicon Valley Bank, the fall of Kevin McCarthy’s speakership or any of the other eruptions that transfixed us this year.

More likely, the event that’s judged most transformative will be some scientific or technological advance that only a handful of people know about right now — because that’s how things almost always go. The first time the word “transistor” appeared in print was in an article in The New York Times in 1948, on Page 46, following a report on two new radio shows, “Mr. Tutt” and “Our Miss Brooks.” I think we can agree that the transistor has had more impact on our daily lives in the 75 years since than either of those bits of entertainment. Learn more
Diagram of AI-driven antibiotic discovery

Antibiotic identified by AI

Computational approaches are emerging as powerful tools for the discovery of antibiotics. A study now uses machine learning to discover abaucin, a potent antibiotic that targets the bacterial pathogen Acinetobacter baumannii. Learn more
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Using AI, scientists find a drug that could combat drug-resistant infections

The machine-learning algorithm identified a compound that kills Acinetobacter baumannii, a bacterium that lurks in many hospital settings. Learn more
Group of MIT faculty members standing with President Yoon Suk Yeol of South Korea and his team.

President Yoon Suk Yeol of South Korea visits MIT

President Yoon Suk Yeol of South Korea visited MIT on Friday, participating in a roundtable discussion with Institute leaders and faculty about biomedical research and discussing the fundamentals of technology-driven innovation clusters. Learn more
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