Professor Price to Investigate Helpful Bacteria to Protect Against Deadly Infections

Milken Institute School of Public Health Professor Lance Price has received an Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant Award (R21) from National Institutes of Health to explore an innovative research topic.  Dr. Price is using the grant to investigate the ecology of an epidemic strain of E. coli, called H30-Rx.  This new pathogenic strain of E. coli, which was first reported by Dr. Price and his colleagues in 2012, spreads asymptomatically in the gastrointestinal tracts of people before going on to cause antibiotic-resistant bladder, kidney and blood infections. 

H30-Rx has spread globally over the past several years and today causes thousands of deadly infections in the U.S. alone.  The research was inspired by the observation that some people are resistant to colonization by E. coli ST131-Rx.  In this study, Dr. Price will be seeking to identify “good" bacteria that can prevent H30-Rx from colonizing the human gut.

Dr. Price will join forces with two esteemed researchers—Dr. James R. Johnson from the University of Minnesota and Dr. David Gordon from the Australian National University—to accomplish the project’s aims of singling out bacterial species most likely to predict resistance to E. coli ST131-Rx.

“This is an exciting opportunity to discover new ways to stop the spread of superbugs," Price says.