June 17: A Virtual Conversation with Dr. Steffanie Strathdee

The Threat of Lethal, Antibiotic-Resistant Superbugs and the Forgotten Cure—Bacterial
Phages—That Can Defeat Them

A Virtual Conversation with Dr. Steffanie Strathdee

Thursday, June 17, at 7 PM EDT on Zoom

Science Writers in New York invites you to a talk with Dr. Steffanie Strathdee (@ chngin_the_wrld), Associate Dean of Global Health Sciences, Harold Simon Professor, UCSD Department of Medicine, Co-Director, Center for Innovative Phage Applications and Therapeutics.

Dr. Strathdee will talk with SWINY co-chair David Levine (@dlloydlevine) about the threat of lethal, antibiotic-resistant superbugs and how phage therapy, which uses bacterial viruses (phages) to treat bacterial infections, can kill even the most lethal bacteria and how she saved her husband’s life from a superbug using phage therapy. She wrote a book about her experiences, The Perfect Predator; A Scientist’s Race to Save Her Husband from a Deadly Superbug: A Memoir, with her husband that was published by Hachette Books in 2019. 

When Dr. Strathdee and her husband, psychologist Tom Patterson, were vacationing in Egypt when Tom came down with a stomach bug. Steffanie dosed Tom with an antibiotic and expected the discomfort to pass. Instead, his condition turned critical.

Local doctors at an Egyptian clinic, an emergency medevac team and then a German hospital failed to cure him. By the time Tom reached the world-class medical center at UC San Diego, where both he and Steffanie worked, bloodwork revealed why modern medicine was failing: Tom was fighting one of the most dangerous, antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the world. Frantic, Steffanie combed through research old and new and came across phage theory: the idea that the right virus, aka “the perfect predator,” can kill even the most lethal bacteria. Phage treatment had fallen out of favor almost 100 years ago, after antibiotic use went mainstream. Now, with time running out, Steffanie appealed to phage researchers all over the world for help. . . and together they achieved a major medical breakthrough.

About Dr. Steffanie Strathdee

Steffanie A. Strathdee is Associate Dean of Global Health Sciences and Harold Simon Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine. She is also an Adjunct Professor at Johns Hopkins and Simon Fraser Universities. She co-directs UCSD’s new center for Innovative Phage Applications and Therapeutics (IPATH), Global Health Institute and the International Core of UCSD’s Center for AIDS Research. An infectious disease epidemiologist, she has spent the last two decades focusing on HIV prevention in marginalized populations in developing countries and has published over 600 peer-reviewed publications and has recently begun working to move bacteriophage therapy into clinical trials at IPATH. Currently, she leads a multidisciplinary team of research on HIV risk behaviors among drug users and sex workers on the Mexico-U.S. border. In 2009, she and her team were awarded the Leadership Award in International Collaboration from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, who also granted her a MERIT award for her research in Tijuana. In total, she has been awarded more than $64 million in federal research grants as a principal investigator.

Have a question for Dr. Steffanie Strathdee you would like answered? Submit it here!

Thursday, June 17
7 to 8 PM EDT


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