Episode 35: Biography of Resistance
As the world grapples with the coronavirus pandemic, the topic of infectious diseases has taken centerstage in our public consciousness. While COVID-19 may be viral in nature, many of the most dangerous diseases are caused by bacteria. Medicine has traditionally treated these infections with antibiotics, but increasingly our antibiotics are becoming less and less effective.
My guest today is Dr. Muhammad H. Zaman who joins me to discuss his new book Biography of Resistance: The Epic Battle Between People and Pathogens. Dr. Zaman is a professor of Biomedical Engineering and International Health at Boston University and his research has led him to become a Fellow with the American Institute of Biological and Medical Engineering. He has shared his expertise with newspapers across globe with columns appearing in over thirty countries. Dr. Zaman joins me via Zoom from his home in Massachusetts to discuss the evolutionary history of bacteria and the microscopic war that has occurred between them for millions of years, the first human efforts to understand these organisms and influence that battle, and how those efforts have led the world of medicine into an age of highly resistant "superbugs."
For incredible gourmet freshly roasted coffee delivered to your door, check out Phil & Sebastian Coffee Roasters! Free shipping anywhere in the US or Canada!
Key Points in Today's Podcast
Some of the major topics I discuss with Muhammad in this episode are:
The differences between the coronavirus pandemic and the issue of bacterial resistance
How bacteria are structured and how they adapt their defenses
The first efforts to understand bacteria and combat them through such brilliant minds as Louis Pasteur and Alexander Fleming
Why bacteria have become resistant in response to human intervention
What an age of "superbugs" might look like in the future
For the Ever Curious
If you are interested in learning more about Dr. Zaman and his research, visit his faculty page on the Boston University website.