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Professor Fábio Aguiar-Alves specializes in identifying bacteria common to staph infection. For example, he can identify the exact types of bacteria present on a patient before they face surgery in order to prevent serious bacterial infections.

He tells listeners

  • How he tests patients and passes on the information to doctors for better treatment,
  • What “surveillance” means in the staph infection hospital world, and
  • What are even more effect advances with testing times and scenarios in the works.

Fábio Aguiar-Alves is an associate professor of Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology at Universidade Federal Fluminense in Brazil. While his initial studies focused on parasites, he became intrigued with bacteria during his PhD work and followed up with a postdoc at University of California, Berkeley, where he researched Staphyloccocus Aureus, a common staph infection.

He now works in molecular epidemiology, identifying bacteria in patients and looking for specific genes that relate to virulence and resistance. He can provide this information to help guide the doctors in specific treatments to prevent or treat bacterial infection. He explains what he’s looking for after he does this DNA retraction.

For example, if he finds a certain gene denoting resistance, he can tell the doctor not to use penicillin to treat this patient because it won’t solve the problem. Ultimately, this serves to give the patient a specific antibiotic when needed rather than a broad spectrum antimicrobial agent. 

He goes into more details about the process—specifically PCR (polymerase chain reaction) to identify the genes—which takes from 2 to 3 hours to figure out. Therefore, they can give a fast answer to the doctor about how to treat—much faster than past systems which delayed treatment considerably.

He also explains the different methods for treating the resistant MRSA versus Staphyloccocus Aureus, how common each is in the general population, and how future advances include better mobility and even faster testing times. He also explains the role lateral gene transfer plays in the spread of MRSA. 

Found out more by searching for his google scholar profile and listings. His papers are listed in NCBI under aguiar/alves and his University website is

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