Our Mission: Rising to a Global Challenge
Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) occurs when antimicrobial treatments such as antibiotics, antivirals, and antiparasitics become ineffective against the microorganisms they were created to fight, causing infections to persist and spread. Roughly 700,000 human deaths are attributable to AMR each year globally, and if trends continue, AMR could contribute to a total of 350 million deaths by 2050.
The Tufts Center for Integrated Management of Antimicrobial Resistance (CIMAR) is a collaborative and cross-disciplinary initiative with a mission to deliver innovative solutions to combat AMR. Our programs encompass research, policy, and education.
Our team includes researchers and educators from across Tufts University and Tufts Medical Center with expertise in microbiology, infectious disease, engineering, epidemiology, global health, drug development, and policy. Tufts faculty are longstanding leaders in infectious diseases and the varied diverse fields that are critical to address AMR. CIMAR supports the integration of this expertise to provide a connection between discovery and patient care at the individual and population levels, and to ensure a presence of a robust and sustainable workforce with the education and competencies needed to combat AMR and promote stewardship.
CIMAR is organized around three central research areas: (1) combination drug therapies to treat AMR and slow the development of resistant strains, (2) surveillance and stewardship using a One Health approach, and (3) cross-campus educational programs on AMR.
Combinatorial drug therapies have great potential to both treat infection and diminish the emergence of tolerance and resistance in human and veterinary medicine. A priority research area of CIMAR is to systematically investigate multidrug regimens for treatment of infectious diseases in the context of learning mechanisms of AMR and developing new antimicrobial strategies. We combine robot-, microdroplet-, and/or biomaterials-based drug screening and testing of drug combinations in animal models. In parallel, we are researching how to adapt the drug approval process for new combinations of previously approved drugs. We aim to fully realize the potential of existing and emerging drugs by developing optimized treatment regimens.
Surveillance and Stewardship
Stewardship and surveillance of emerging antimicrobial resistance are key to controlling its spread. Through stewardship, we do this in part by promoting the responsible use of antimicrobials in order to improve patient treatment outcomes. We use surveillance strategies to detect emerging health issues and monitor the health of communities so that we can observe if AMR is on the rise.
At the Tufts CIMAR, we are utilizing tools from epidemiology, engineering, and the social sciences to shape policy development via a One Health approach. We aim to develop policies and implementation techniques to facilitate responsible antimicrobial use.
Tufts educators are poised to lead AMR curriculum development and implementation for trainees starting at the high school level through undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate education. We are developing educational programs on AMR with emphasis on cross-campus educational efforts, starting at the high school and undergraduate level. The integration of this expertise in CIMAR will provide a connection between discovery and patient care at the individual and population level and ensure a presence of a robust and sustainable workforce with the education and competencies needed to combat AMR and promote stewardship.
If you’d like to read more about what CIMAR is doing in education, please visit our Featured Trainees page. Featured Trainees are students, postdoctoral fellows, practicing physicians and faculty, and others who work under the tutelage of CIMAR Core Faculty members and who stand out for their efforts in the fight against antimicrobial resistance. Trainees might be graduate students, antimicrobial stewards, educators, scientific researchers, medical doctors, veterinarians, pharmacists, or a combination of any of these and other professions.
Some of CIMAR’s core faculty at the Tufts Center for Translational Science Education are involved with PARE, the Prevalence of Antibiotic-Resistance in the Environment project. PARE is a course-based research module and citizen-science driven research project with goals of large-scale monitoring of antibiotic-resistant organisms in the environment and providing a low-hurdle pathway for instructors to begin implementing research in their classrooms. The below slideshow includes photos from PARE partners in the US and abroad. The first set is from a PARE partner in Botswana, while the second depicts the work of the College Bound Explorers program at Pine Manor College.