Evergreen to host international conference on bacteriophage
OLYMPIA, WASH. (July 24, 2017) — The 2017 Evergreen Bacteriophage Conference will be held August 6-11 at The Evergreen State College. The biennial conference was founded in 1995 as a summit devoted to bacteriophage-related molecular biology and ecology. It has now broadened to include applications of bacteriophages in agriculture, human phage therapy and genetic engineering.
“Evergreen is a particularly good fit for this conference due to its hospitality, location, excellent facilities, and long tradition of bacteriophage research work,” said Elizabeth Kutter, coordinator of the Evergreen Phage Lab.
Commonly referred to as “phage,” bacteriophages are viruses that kill bacteria. 2017 marks the hundredth anniversary of the discovery of phage viruses, which have long been used in many parts of the world as a successful partner for antibiotics and are currently being considered for medical use in the United States, Europe and China.
“In this era of growing antibiotic resistance, interest is growing strong in the possibilities of using bacteriophages as a complement to other antimicrobials in the treatment of often-intractable microbial infections, as has been done for many decades in some parts of the world,” Kutter explained.
A nationally recognized bacteriophage researcher, earlier this month Kutter visited Washington D.C. to discuss the field at a FDA workshop exploring efforts to move therapeutic work with phages forward in the United States.
Established in 1973, Evergreen’s phage lab is a leader in the field and works collaboratively with phage researchers from throughout the world. Many Evergreen alumni who served as student researchers in the lab have gone on to earn doctoral degrees and are still working with the developing science.
The lab was in the news earlier this year when a 4-year old boy in Edmonds, Wash. celebrated a clean bill of health, thanks in large part to guidance from Kutter and the success of the phage therapy treatments acquired from outside of the U.S.
Kutter says that the conference is not typically open to the public, but encouraged individual who are particularly interested to contact her to make arrangements to attend.