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The population biology of drug resistance: <br/>Key principles for a more sustainable use of drugs


The evolution of drug resistance and its control represents a considerable challenge in very different biological contexts ranging from pesticide resistance in agriculture to antimicrobial resistance in clinical settings and even extends beyond infectious pathogens, as resistance also evolves in cancer chemotherapy. Naturally, the recommendations for the optimal use of drugs to minimise resistance differ for different biological contexts. In some cases, similar strategies for vastly different pathogens or biological contexts are recommended, whereas in other cases opposing strategies for similar pathogens are advised. To which extent these discrepancies in treatment recommendations are attributable to specific properties of the pathogen, the host, or the general biological context is currently unclear. The aim of this proposal is to develop an integrative population biological framework for the evolution of resistance and its control. To this end we will develop mathematical models of resistance evolution in viruses, bacteria, parasites, cancer and fungal plant pathogens. Developing detailed population biological models that account for the specific biology of these ¿pathogens¿ as well as the specific context of the application of drugs will allow us to identify those aspects that are common between different biological contexts and those aspects that are specific to the pathogen, the host or the drug. Moreover, working simultaneously on resistance evolution in these different biological contexts will facilitate the translation of findings between fields of research that to date have remained largely separate. We seek to bridge these fields and integrate insight to develop a broad conceptual framework with which to address the ever-growing problem of sustainable drug use.

Call for proposal

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Raemistrasse 101
8092 Zuerich

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Schweiz/Suisse/Svizzera Zürich Zürich
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Sebastian Bonhoeffer (Prof.)
Principal investigator
Lukas Sebastian Bonhoeffer (Prof.)
EU contribution
No data

Beneficiaries (1)