Media Advisory: Local scientists to hold open discussion with public on dangers of antibiotic overuse

Blue, yellow and white pills.

Release Date: November 14, 2018

Portrait of Gale R. Burstein.

Erie County Health Commissioner Gale R. Burstein

Portrait of Robert J. Genco.

Robert J. Genco, SUNY Distinguished Professor, director of the UB Microbiome Center

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The University at Buffalo, Buffalo Museum of Science and Erie County Department of Health have partnered to hold Pushing Back: Antimicrobial Resistance, an event that aims to educate the public about the increasing threat of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and the harm that overuse of these prescribed medications can have on our microbiome.

The event is part of Mind Your Microbiome and Be Antibiotics Aware Week, an annual program held by the UB Community of Excellence in Genome, Environment and Microbiome (GEM) that seeks to teach the Western New York community about the five pounds of microorganisms that live in or on the human body.

The week-long program, from Nov. 12-18, run simultaneously with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week.

When: Wednesday, Nov. 14, from 7-9 p.m.

Where: Buffalo Museum of Science, 1020 Humboldt Parkway, Buffalo.

Guest speakers include Erie County Health Commissioner Gale R. Burstein, MD, and Robert J. Genco, DDS, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor and director of the UB Microbiome Center.

Media are invited to attend. On site contact is Andrea Gallagher,, 619-987-2277.

Why: Antibiotic overuse — both in our food and those prescribed to treat infection — has led to the increasing prevalence of resistant strains of bacteria that are difficult to treat. According to CDC research, nearly 80 percent of Americans are prescribed at least one antibiotic each year, but half of those prescriptions are either unnecessary or ineffective.

Antibiotics may also harm the microbiome by removing the trillions of good bacteria that colonize our bodies and keep us healthy.

“The GEM community is committed to spreading awareness of the microbes that live in, on and around us. So many are important for our own well-being and are at risk when antibiotics are used inappropriately,” said Jennifer Surtees, PhD, GEM co-director and associate professor in the Department of Biochemistry in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB.

“At the same time, there are some very harmful microbes that we need to be able to control with antibiotics. This delicate balance is important for everyone to understand.”

Media Contact Information

Marcene Robinson
News Content Manager
Dental Medicine, Libraries, Nursing, Pharmacy

Tel: 716-645-4595