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Meet the Reluctant Founder who is waging war on Antibiotic Resistant Infections!

Updated: 6 days ago

Our guest today is another Atlanta luminary, Dr. Marvin Whiteley, the founder and CSO of SynthBiome, Inc. Deaths are expected to increase over the next 20-30 years due to antibiotic resistant infections.


It’s common for people to go into the hospital for something innocuous, get an infection, and find that the bacterium doesn’t respond to antibiotic. There are strains infecting people outside of clinical settings, as well. As there are millions of deaths caused by this each year, the alarm bells are starting to go off because we are not developing a lot of new antibiotics.


The premise of his research is that bacterium have begun to behave as a part of sophisticated communication systems whereby they convey information to each other. An example would be “How many bacteria are around me that are like me?” The benefit is being able to coordinate and overcome the immune system toxin production.


How can this trend be stopped?

Tune in and hear us discuss:

  • How he went from zoology to microbiology

  • How much of a problem is antibiotic resistance?

  • How bacteria are social animals.

  • Why sociability causes bacteria to change their behavior

  • Why we should go back to test tubes instead of mice or humans

  • Why he moved from Austin to Atlanta

  • Advice he would give to those who want to start a company but are reluctant

About Dr. Marvin Whiteley

Dr. Marvin Whiteley is a Professor of Biological Sciences at Georgia Institute of Technology and the founder and CSO of SynthBiome, Inc.


Dr. Whiteley received his B.S. degree in Zoology in 1995 from the University of Texas at Austin and his Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Iowa in 2001. His doctoral research involved quorum sensing and biofilm formation in the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Following a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Stanford University in 2002, Dr. Whiteley accepted a position as an assistant professor at the University of Oklahoma/Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. In 2006, Dr. Whiteley moved to the University of Texas at Austin where he was promoted to Professor of Molecular Biosciences and Director of the LaMontagne Center for Infectious Disease. In 2017, he accepted the Bennie H. & Nelson D. Abell Chair and Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in Molecular and Cellular Biology at Georgia Institute of Technology. He also serves as Associate Director of the CF-Air Center at Emory Medical School. Dr. Whiteley has garnered numerous awards for his work including the Merck Irving S. Sigal Memorial Award for national research excellence, the Burroughs Wellcome Investigators in Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease award, recognition as a Kavli fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, the Dean’s teaching excellence award from UT-Austin, and election to the American Academy of Microbiology.


The information contained in this website and podcast are purely informational and not considered investment recommendations. Tim Dougherty’s participation in Biotech Insights is separate and apart from his role as an investment advisor representative. Nothing contained herein may be construed as a recommendation or endorsement of any of the companies discussed. Tim Dougherty has no financial affiliation with any of the companies mentioned in this communication. Tim Dougherty makes no representation that the information conveyed in this material is accurate and is under no obligation to update this information as changes occur.

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