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UB to hold week of events across WNY for Antibiotics Awareness Week

Release Date: November 10, 2017

“GEM wants everyone to think differently about bacteria and to realize that good bacteria live in and on us to help keep us healthy.”
Jennifer Surtees, GEM co-director and associate professor in the Department of Biochemistry in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Western New Yorkers will receive a weeklong introduction to the five pounds of microorganisms that call the human body home through Mind Your Microbiome and Be Antibiotics Aware Week, a series of community events and initiatives sponsored by the University at Buffalo Genome, Environment and Microbiome (GEM) Community of Excellence.

Held during the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week – Nov. 13-19 – the events aim to educate the public about the microbes that live in and on our bodies, including the large number of good bacteria that colonize our bodies and keep us healthy, and the few bad bacteria that cause infections and make us ill.

Programs range from a symposium on the aesthetics of microbial art to discussions on the future of antibiotics and workshops that guide second-grade students through collecting and studying microorganisms in their classroom.  

GEM is also partnering with the CDC, Erie County Department of Health, Patient Voices Network and UB’s School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. They will perform outreach — including activities and providing information on the importance of the microbiome, probiotics and proper antibiotic use — at UB, local pharmacies, public libraries, clinics and the Buffalo Museum of Science.

Formerly Get Smart About Antibiotics Week, U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week is held to make the public more mindful of antibiotic overuse in both food and medicine, and the threat of antibiotic resistance, which 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.

“GEM wants everyone to think differently about bacteria and to realize that good bacteria live in and on us to help keep us healthy. Smart use of antibiotics is a key piece of keeping your microbiome healthy,” says 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.

Activities that will be held throughout the week include:

  • Microbial Aesthetics Symposium — The two-day event, hosted by the UB Coalesce Center for Biological Art, will gather practitioners from across the arts, humanities and sciences to discuss the aesthetics of engagement with microbial life, offering new vantages for study.

    The symposium will be held Nov. 16-17 at the Coalesce Center for Biological Art in Hochstetter Hall and the Student Union on the UB North Campus, and at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, 341 Delaware Ave. in Buffalo.

    The interactive workshops and discussions are free and open to the public. Guests are encouraged to RSVP at coe-gem@buffalo.edu by Monday, Nov. 13. For more details, visit http://bit.ly/2zEu9zk.

  • Panel Discussion: The Future of Antibiotics — Guests will learn about the potential fate of medicine from experts on the frontline of antibiotic resistance. The program is sponsored by GEM, the Erie County Department of Health and the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

    Panelists include Erie County Commissioner of Health Gale Burstein, MD; Joshua Sawyer, PharmD, clinical assistant professor in the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; and Julie Smithson, PharmD, clinical pharmacist at Sisters of Charity Hospital.

    The event, free and open to the public, is scheduled on Thursday, Nov. 16 at 5:30 p.m. in 125 Kapoor Hall on the UB South Campus. Light refreshments will be served.

  • The Microbiome: Your 2nd Genome — The fall 2017 program of the Friends of the Health Sciences Library, invites Robert Genco, DDS, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor and director of the UB Microbiome Center, to explore the functions of the human microbiome and how it contributes to our mood and conditions such as diabetes and obesity.

    The program is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 16, from 6-9 p.m. in the Robert L. Brown History of Medicine Collection in Abbott Hall on the UB South Campus. Refreshments and dessert will be served.

    Guests are encouraged to RSVP by Monday, Nov. 13 with Linda Lohr at 716-829-5737 or lalohr@buffalo.edu.

GEM is an interdisciplinary community of UB faculty and staff dedicated to uncovering the ways in which microbes help us in our daily lives and advancing public understanding of the microbiome.

To learn more about GEM research, outreach and education, visit www.buffalo.edu/gem.

Media Contact Information

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

Tel: 716-645-4595
marcener@buffalo.edu