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RI Hospital receives $500,000 CDC grant to research new approach for combating antibiotic resistance

October 12, 2016

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has awarded a $519,344 grant to Rhode Island Hospital to study the microbiome (bacteria that inhabit the body) of patients exposed to antibiotics to predict which are at most risk of acquiring multidrug-resistant bacteria.

"In the last decade, the human microbiome has been recognized as fundamental towards preventing diseases, including diabetes and obesity," said lead researcher Erika D'Agata, M.D., MPH, an infectious diseases physician at Rhode Island Hospital and The Miriam Hospital. "A healthy microbiome is also important in preventing the acquisition and spread of multidrug-resistant bacteria, a major public health threat, as antibiotic exposure substantially alters the microbiome and leads to an increased risk of acquiring these resistant bacteria."

Microbiome is a community of naturally occurring microbes in and on the body. Bacteria and other microbes live on the skin and in the gut, mouth, and respiratory and urinary tract. In this study, D'Agata will analyze the rectal microbiome among a large cohort of nursing home residents who have been exposed to antimicrobials. "Understanding the characteristics of patients' microbiome disruption indices will have important implications toward developing innovative infection prevention strategies," added D'Agata, also an associate professor of medicine at the Brown University Division of Infectious Diseases.

"Antibiotics are life-saving medicines, but they can also disrupt a person's microbiome and increase the risk for drug-resistant infections," said Clifford McDonald, M.D., associate director of science for CDC's Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion. "To protect people, their microbiomes, and the effectiveness of antibiotics, this project is an example of applied research that has the potential to produce innovative public health approaches to better combat antibiotic resistance."

The Rhode Island Hospital grant is among more than $14 million the CDC has awarded nationwide to 34 innovative projects aimed at developing new approaches to combating antiobiotic resistance. Made through the CDC's Broad Agency Announcement (BAA), the awards support activities in the CDC's Antibiotic Resistance Solutions Initiative. The Initiative, which also provides funding for state health departments and other partners, implements the tracking, prevention, and antiobiotic stewardship activities outlined in the National Action Plan for Combating Antiobiotic-Resistant Bacteria.
About Rhode Island Hospital

Founded in 1863, Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, R.I., is a private, not-for-profit hospital and is the principal teaching hospital of Alpert Medical School of Brown University. A major trauma center for southeastern New England, the hospital is dedicated to being on the cutting edge of medicine and research. Last year, Rhode Island Hospital received more than $50 million in external research funding. It is also home to Hasbro Children's Hospital, the state's only facility dedicated to pediatric care. For more information, visit


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