Meet Our 2021 Stand Up to Superbugs Ambassadors

Individuals meet virtually with policymakers to encourage increased funding for fight against antibiotic-resistant bacteria

Meet Our 2021 Stand Up to Superbugs Ambassadors
Chris and Joyce Romm
The Pew Charitable Trusts

In March, nearly 40 individuals from across the country will meet with their legislators to urge Congress to take bipartisan action to prioritize the battle against antibiotic resistance: a looming global health threat that threatens the future of modern medicine. As part of The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Stand Up to Superbugs initiative, this year’s ambassadors include health care professionals, public health officials, scientists, farmers and ranchers, veterinarians, superbug survivors, and people who have lost loved ones to an antibiotic-resistant infection. They will meet virtually with federal agency leaders and members of Congress to share their superbug stories and expertise, and urge increased commitment and momentum to preserve the effectiveness of existing antibiotics and develop urgently needed new ones.

Brad Andersh

Brad Andersh, Ph.D., B.S., has been a professor of chemistry at Bradley University for nearly three decades. His research aims to find new antibiotics that will fight resistant bacteria by either modifying the structure of existing drugs or exploiting structural scaffolds not currently used in commercial antimicrobials. Andersh is the 2013 recipient of the Putnam Award for Excellence in Teaching and holds a joint appointment as the university’s director of sponsored programs. He received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of South Dakota and a doctorate from Iowa State University.

David Andes

David Andes, M.D., is head of the division of infectious diseases at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and a professor in the departments of medicine, medical microbiology, and immunology. He also directs the Wisconsin Antimicrobial Drug Discovery and Development National Institutes of Health (NIH) Center of Excellence. He has been an editor of Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy since 2013 and is on the editorial boards of several other infectious disease journals. He served as president of the International Society of Antimicrobial Pharmacology, was elected as a fellow of the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the American Academy of Microbiology, and has been a member of the Infectious Diseases Society of America’s program committee. He received a medical degree from the University of Missouri School of Medicine.

John Barlow

John Barlow, D.V.M., Ph.D., is a veterinary infectious disease researcher and an associate professor in the department of animal sciences at the University of Vermont, where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses, including One Health—Antibiotic Resistance. His research is focused on mastitis control on conventional and organic dairy farms, Staphylococcus epidemiology on dairy farms, antimicrobial resistance and antimicrobial use in agriculture, and improved methods for disease control in dairy cattle. He received a bachelor’s degree in pathobiology from the University of Connecticut, a veterinary medicine degree from the University of Illinois, and a doctorate in infectious disease mathematical and molecular epidemiology from the University of Vermont.

Sophia Cardwell

Sophia Macleay Cardwell, Pharm.D., M.P.H., is a board-certified infectious diseases pharmacist, coordinator of the antimicrobial stewardship program for the PeaceHealth Columbia Region, and an adjunct professor in the School of Pharmacy at the University of Connecticut. Her work in antimicrobial use reporting resulted in PeaceHealth being awarded a National Healthcare Safety Network Antimicrobial Use and Resistance grant from the Washington State Department of Health. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Oregon, a master’s in public health from Portland State University, and a doctor of pharmacy from Pacific University. She completed her pharmacotherapy residency at the University of Vermont Medical Center and her infectious diseases residency at Hartford Hospital.

Elias Chahine

Elias Chahine, Pharm.D., F.C.C.P., F.A.S.C.P., F.F.S.H.P., B.C.P.S., B.C.I.D.P., is a professor of pharmacy practice at Palm Beach Atlantic University and a clinical pharmacy specialist at Wellington Regional Medical Center. He has written articles and book chapters on infectious diseases and pharmacy education and has presented at local, state, national, and international pharmacy meetings. He is active in professional organizations, where he has served in various leadership roles, and is the recipient of several teaching, practice, and service awards, including the Education Award from the American College of Clinical Pharmacy and the clinical practice award from the Infectious Diseases Practice and Research Network. Chahine received his Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the Lebanese American University and completed a pharmacy residency at Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital, affiliated with Columbia University, and an academic leadership fellows program through the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy.

Bianca Clarke

Bianca Clarke R.N., B.S.N., is the partner health improvement coordinator of the STD Interventions Unit for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Her responsibilities include enhancing, expanding, and strengthening expedited partner therapy as a treatment and prevention tool for sexually transmitted infection in local health departments across Michigan. She also works alongside the Michigan Partner Services Program to assist with implementation of the Internet Partner Services protocol, a guidance document and training to teach state and local disease intervention specialists how to use dating applications and other social media platforms to notify and engage with sex- and needle-sharing partners of individuals newly diagnosed with HIV. Clarke’s background in public health dates to about five years ago, when she served as a STD/HIV public health nurse for Michigan’s Macomb County Health Department. She has seen the effects of antibiotic resistance within her own family: Both parents were hospitalized a month apart for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections. Although both have recovered fully, their journey to healing was a long road. During their hospitalization, both parents experienced complications related to vancomycin, the antibiotic drug of choice for treating most MRSA infections. Clarke received her Bachelor of Science in nursing from Wayne State University. 

Mel Coleman Jr.

Mel Coleman Jr. was born and raised on the cattle ranch that became Coleman Natural Beef, a company founded by his father, Mel Coleman Sr. Together, they helped create standards and protocols necessary to garner the Agriculture Department’s first “natural” label, designating beef produced from livestock raised without the use of antibiotics or growth hormones.

Today, Coleman serves as vice president and spokesperson for Coleman Natural Foods. He has held numerous leadership and board positions with the Organic Trade Association, Culinary Institute of America, and American Meat Institute and was a founding member of the Organic Food Alliance. Coleman played a key role in establishing the organic beef standards that became part of the National Organic Program in the 1990 farm bill. He is also the executive committee chair for the American Farmland Trust board of directors and sits on its Growing Local Committee.

Cynthia Flora

Cynthia Flora earned a master’s degree in environmental management from Duke University before there were many jobs in this field, so she moved west. Calling herself a “southeast Alaskan wilderness tramp,” she worked a variety of jobs: U.S. Forest Service worker laying out timber-cutting units, public radio operations director, gillnet crewman, and shipyard business manager. During this time, she acquired NTM (nontuberculous mycobacterium) in her lungs. Additional diagnoses followed: bronchiectasis, bronchiolitis, Sjogren’s syndrome, asthma, GERD. She lost one lung lobe and acquired a persistent multidrug-resistant infection of Stenotrophomonas maltophilia and had side effects of vertigo and brain fog. Other than that, she’s in pretty good shape. Flora chairs Nontuberculous Mycobacterial Northwest Support, where she was honored to have had Tammy Heenan as a member. Heenan was a cheerful, courageous woman who flew across the country to share her battle with NTM and pseudomonas aeruginosa at the 2020 superbug fly-in; sadly, she died from complications a few months later following surgery.

Christina Fuhrman

Christina Fuhrman is a survivor of Clostridioides difficile (C. diff), formerly known as Clostridium difficile, which nearly ended her life. Three years after her infection, her 2-year-old daughter developed the same condition. As an advocate and member of the board of directors for the Peggy Lillis Foundation and through her personal website (www.mygijourney.org), she works to increase awareness of C. diff and connect patients with resources. She home-schools her two children after working 15 years in banking and lending.

Don Hoenig

Donald Hoenig, V.M.D., founded MIM Consulting in 2013 (specializing in farm animal health and welfare, food safety, and public health) and is co-owner of One Health Veterinary Consulting LLC. Most recently, he spent six years as the American Humane Association’s senior veterinarian adviser in its farm animal welfare certification program. In a veterinary career spanning four decades, he has been a U.S. Department of Agriculture veterinary medical officer, the State Veterinarian and State Public Health Veterinarian in Maine, and an American Veterinary Medical Association congressional fellow in the office of Senator Susan Collins (R-ME); has taught at the Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine; and has worked in mixed animal practice. Over the past five years, he has completed three development missions with the World Organization for Animal Health to Tanzania, Ghana, and Gambia. He received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Bowdoin College and a veterinary medicine degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

Seth Houseman

Seth Housman, Pharm.D., M.P.A., is a clinical associate professor of infectious diseases in the department of pharmacy practice at Western New England University. He maintains a practice site at Baystate Medical Center as an infectious diseases pharmacy specialist and assistant residency program director for the second-year postgraduate infectious diseases pharmacy residency. His research interests include optimizing antimicrobial dosing to overcome antimicrobial resistance. He received a master’s degree in public administration and a doctor of pharmacy degree from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.

Grace Kubin

Grace Kubin, Ph.D., lost her father due to complications from a C. diff infection in June 2015. The uncontrollable infection was caused by improper prescribing of antibiotics following surgery and a lack of patient monitoring to detect the infection. The following year, the Texas Department of State Health Services Laboratory, of which Kubin serves as director, received funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to become a testing lab for CDC’s newly formed national Antibiotic Resistance Lab Network. These laboratories provide additional testing capacities to quickly identify unusual resistance and look for potential sources of resistant organisms in health care facilities. The Texas laboratory supports rapid identification in an effort to prevent antibiotic resistance, and Kubin has co-written several papers on this work. She studied immunology, focusing on gene regulation, at the University of Texas, Austin, where she received bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees.

Kerry LaPlante

Kerry LaPlante, Pharm.D., F.C.C.P., F.I.D.S.A., is department chairperson and a tenured professor of pharmacy at the University of Rhode Island, an adjunct professor of medicine at Brown University, and director of the antimicrobial stewardship clinical research program and fellowship at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Providence, Rhode Island. She is a member of the Rhode Island COVID-19 Vaccine Subcommittee, the immediate past president of the Society of Infectious Diseases Pharmacists, vice president of Making a Difference in Infectious Diseases (MAD-ID), chairperson of the Rhode Island Department of Health’s Antimicrobial Stewardship and Environmental Cleaning Task Force, and technical expert for the Joint Commission’s Leading Practices in Antimicrobial Stewardship panel. She received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Canisius College and a doctor of pharmacy and postdoctoral fellowship in infectious diseases/pharmacotherapy at the Anti-Infective Research Laboratory, Wayne State University.

Karen Lightheart

Karen Lightheart, MS, is a 30-year veteran in the fight to prevent sexually transmitted infections. As an employee of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Division of HIV and STD Programs for almost 31 years, she is keenly aware of the consequences of antibiotic resistance. She began her public health career as a front-line employee working to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STI). As a disease intervention specialist in the city of Detroit, she located and assured treatment for people who were diagnosed with sexually transmitted infections, including Neisseria gonorrhoeae , as well as their sexual contacts. For the next two decades, she worked as a surveillance specialist and supervised a team whose responsibilities included the monitoring and reporting of STIs, including Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Lightheart is currently Michigan’s statewide provider liaison, calling attention to antimicrobial resistance, especially as it relates to Neisseria gonorrhoeae, in the medical community.

Christian John Lillis

Christian Lillis lost his mother, Peggy, to a community-acquired C. diff infection in April 2010 after she was unnecessarily prescribed a broad-spectrum antibiotic. The loss of his mother led Lillis and his brother, Liam, to launch the Peggy Lillis Foundation (PLF) for C. diff Education & Advocacy. PLF is now the leading national organization dedicated to combating C. diff and antibiotic resistant infections by educating the public, empowering survivors and family members, and shaping policy. As head of PLF, Lillis has led five national convenings of advocates, built a 50-person volunteer Advocates Council, coordinated the inaugural C. diff Lobby Day on Capitol Hill, and produced the first public service announcement on C. diff infections.

Lillis’ writing has appeared in the Baltimore Sun, Cleveland Plain Dealer, and the CDC’s Safe Healthcare Blog. He has also co-authored articles for journals including Advances in Therapy and the American Journal of Gastroenterology. PLF’s work has been featured in Consumer Reports, USA Today, and Reuters as well as on CNN and CBS Evening News With Nora O’Donnell. In 2013, Lillis received CDC’s Excellence in Partnership award for domestic advocates and organizations.

Dustin Loy

Dustin Loy, D.V.M., Ph.D., is an associate professor in the School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln and faculty supervisor for the bacteriology and molecular diagnostics sections of the Nebraska Veterinary Diagnostic Center. His research focuses on ocular and respiratory diseases of cattle with a specific interest in the development of tools and diagnostic strategies to assist veterinarians with disease prevention and the judicious selection and use of antimicrobials. He is a member of the board of health for Lincoln/Lancaster County, Nebraska, and a committee chair for the American College of Veterinary Microbiology and the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians. He received a bachelor’s degree in animal science, a doctorate in veterinary microbiology, and a doctor of veterinary medicine degree in food animal medicine from Iowa State University, and is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Microbiologists.

Everly Macario

Everly Macario’s otherwise healthy and beautiful curly red-haired, brown-eyed 1½- year-old son, Simon Sol Sparrow, died suddenly from a community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) infection in 2004. Since then, Macario has been sounding the alarm about our post-antibiotic era and rallying to reduce our misuse of antibiotics—in humans, food animals, and pets. Her aim is to make antibiotic resistance as urgent as climate change. Macario holds a doctorate in health and social behavior, a master’s degree in health policy and management, and a master’s degree in education—each from Harvard University.

Ron Mardesen

Ron Mardesen’s farm, A Frame Acres, in Elliot, Iowa, has been in the family for five generations, with three generations currently working the land. Mardesen’s family has been partnering with Niman Ranch since 2002 and he has spent more than a decade as a field agent for the company, supporting hundreds of independent family farmers. He currently serves as a coach and spokesperson for Niman’s farming community. A Frame Acres has been featured on “60 Minutes” and in radio and print ads for Chipotle. Mardesen has hosted hundreds of guests on his farm and is a member of Practical Farmers of Iowa. He hosts international groups and mentors new farmers throughout the state of Iowa and in eastern Nebraska. Mardesen is committed to letting pigs be pigs.

Kim Musser

Kimberlee Musser, Ph.D., is the clinical director and director of the bacteriology laboratory at the New York State Department of Health, Wadsworth Center. As the chief of bacterial diseases, she oversees the bacteriology laboratory, the foodborne bacteriology laboratory, the mycobacteriology laboratory, the Northeast Regional PulseNet laboratory, and the Antibiotic Resistance Laboratory Network laboratory. Musser’s laboratory provides diagnostic reference testing for the detection of various pathogenic bacteria in New York state. Most recently, this has included oversight and contribution of staff to the state’s COVID PCR testing effort. She received a doctorate of biomedical sciences from Albany Medical College and her postdoctoral training as a CDC/APHL Emerging Infectious Diseases Fellow at the Wadsworth Center.

Kelsey OYong

Kelsey OYong, M.P.H., C.I.C., is an epidemiologist and health care-associated infections coordinator at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. Her responsibilities include investigating health care infection outbreaks, containing drug resistance, and tracking antibiotic use and COVID-19. OYong completed a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists Applied Epidemiology Fellowship in 2013 and is certified in infection control and epidemiology. She received a bachelor’s degree in molecular biology from Colgate University and a master of public health degree from the University of Albany School of Public Health.

Melinda Pettigrew

Melinda Pettigrew, Ph.D., is a professor of epidemiology and the senior associate dean for academic affairs at the Yale School of Public Health (YSPH). She leads the academic programs at YSPH and researches the growing public health threat of antibiotic resistance. Specifically, her research seeks to determine how disruptions in the microbiome influence development of antibiotic resistance and the risk for community and hospital-acquired infections. She serves as a steering committee member and executive committee member for the Antibacterial Resistance Leadership Group, which is a network of scientists who set the nation’s clinical research agenda to curb the threat of antibiotic resistance. Pettigrew has served since 2017 on the Connecticut Department of Public Health’s Multidisciplinary Antimicrobial Resistance/Antimicrobial Stewardship Advisory Group. She serves on the editorial board of mBio. Pettigrew is a widely known teacher who received the YSPH Distinguished Teaching Award and the Yale Graduate and Professional Student Senate Inspiring Yale Award in 2018. She received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Grinnell College and a doctorate in epidemiology from Yale University.

Cassandra Quave

Cassandra Quave, Ph.D., is curator of the Herbarium and assistant professor of Dermatology and Human Health at Emory University, where she leads antibiotic drug discovery research initiatives and teaches courses on medicinal plants, microbiology and pharmacology. Her research focuses on plants used in the traditional medical treatment of infectious and inflammatory skin disease, which she applies to natural products drug discovery in her search for new antibiotics that target multidrug-resistant pathogens such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, (CRE), among others. Her interest in antibiotic-resistant infections is personal; she survived a hospital-acquired MRSA infection that nearly took her life as a child. Quave is the co-founder and CEO/CSO of PhytoTEK LLC, a drug discovery company dedicated to developing solutions from botanicals for the treatment of recalcitrant antibiotic-resistant infections. She is a fellow of the Explorers Club, a past president of the Society for Economic Botany, and a recipient of the Emory Williams Teaching Award and Charles Heiser Jr. Mentor Award, and her innovative research has been covered extensively by the mainstream media. She received a doctorate in biology with a focus on ethnobotany and ethnopharmacology from Florida International University’s Center for Ethnobiology and Natural Products, and training as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Arkansas and Emory University. Quave’s book "The Plant Hunter: A Scientist's Quest for Nature's Next Medicine" will be published this fall.

Shannon Ross

Shannon Ross, M.D., M.S.P.H., is an associate professor of pediatrics and microbiology in the division of pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Alabama, Birmingham (UAB), and has been a faculty member in UAB’s department of pediatrics since 2006. Ross is an active clinician and researcher, with her lab work focusing on congenital infections. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Infectious Diseases Society of America, and the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society, and an elected member of the Society for Pediatric Research. Since 2015, she has been the medical co-director of the Children’s of Alabama-Benjamin Russell Hospital’s antimicrobial stewardship program and leads a team that works to implement guidelines and policies on appropriate antimicrobial use to improve patient care. She received a medical degree from the UAB School of Medicine and completed a pediatric residency and pediatric infectious diseases fellowship from UAB. During her fellowship training, she also received a master’s degree in public health, in clinical research, at the UAB School of Public Health. To learn more, watch “My Worst Fear: A Doctor Faces Antibiotic Resistance” and read “One Doctor’s Fight to Stop Superbugs and Save Lives.”

Joanna Sandager

In 2007, Joanna Sandager’s, B.S.N., R.N., family packed the car and drove her to the College of William & Mary to start her freshman year. But a few weeks after school started, an antibiotic-resistant staph infection put all that in jeopardy. Sandager contracted MRSA in a small cut in her leg. Her mother had recently seen a news broadcast about MRSA outbreaks in Virginia and urged her daughter to go to the emergency room. Thanks to her mom’s quick thinking, Sandager was promptly admitted to the hospital and treated with vancomycin. The infection had spread so fast that for a few days doctors considered amputating her leg. Fortunately, her treatment was successful without amputation, but the rest of her first year away from her family was spent in and out of the hospital and student health center receiving intravenous antibiotics as the infection recurred.

Sandager is a recent graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Nursing and works as a registered nurse in Norfolk, Virginia. She feels lucky that the antibiotics available 10 years ago were successful in treating the infection, but worries about the future for her patients. She is passionate about preserving the antibiotics we have and encouraging lawmakers to protect and expand funding to spur the development of new drugs to tackle the superbugs we will face in the next decade.

Hayden Schwenk

Hayden Schwenk, M.D., M.P.H., is a clinical associate professor of pediatrics in the division of pediatric infectious diseases at the Stanford University School of Medicine. He is the co-clinical chief of the division and chairs the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford’s pharmacy and therapeutics and integrated infectious disease program committees. As medical director of the hospital’s first antimicrobial stewardship program, he is responsible for identifying and implementing strategies that improve antimicrobial utilization. He has a particular interest in the diagnosis and management of C. diff. infections, antifungal stewardship, and approaches to the stewardship of antimicrobial use in medically complex, critically ill children. He received a master’s degree in public health from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and a medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. 

Melissa Stundick

Melissa Stundick, Ph.D, is vice president of business development at Spero Therapeutics, a company focused on developing treatments for multidrug-resistant infections in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She is responsible for corporate development and partnership formation with other pharmaceutical and biotech companies, not-for-profit organizations, and government agencies. While at Spero, she has played a key role expanding antibiotic programs through Asian regional licensing deals with Everest Medicines and Meiji Seika Pharma as well as a collaboration and licensing deal with Gates Medical Research Institute and a $10 million equity investment by the Novo REPAIR Impact Fund, which supports early-stage companies that are developing new drugs to address antimicrobial resistance.

She also leads efforts that have resulted in the awarding of over $60 million in nondilutive funding to Spero to date. Before joining Spero, Stundick was the broad spectrum antimicrobials program chief in the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), where she formed and helped manage partnerships with a portfolio of companies developing novel antibacterial, antitoxin, and antiviral therapeutics. Stundick previously worked at Booz Allen Hamilton, where she consulted for Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security clients. She received her Ph.D. in cell and molecular biology from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and a B.S. in chemistry from Bates College. She also holds a certificate of intelligence analysis from the University of Maryland.

Deanne Tabb

Deanne Tabb, Pharm.D., heads an infectious disease pharmacy service at Piedmont Columbus Midtown in Columbus, Georgia. She received a bachelor’s degree in medical technology from Columbus State University and practiced in the area of clinical microbiology prior to earning her pharmacy degree from Auburn University. She completed a pharmacy practice residency at Columbus Regional Health Care System and an infectious disease specialty at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

John Tarpoff

John Tarpoff is vice president of fresh beef at Niman Ranch. His start in the beef business was influenced by his family. Both of his grandfathers were shepherds—one started a grocery store, and the other raised calves and lambs. Eventually, the harvesting business turned into a family-run packing business. With this experience, and a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Missouri, Columbia, he understands the importance of growing Niman’s niche business with dedicated ranchers and farmers, and maintaining product excellence for consumers.

Erica Washington

Erica Washington, M.P.H., an epidemiologist with the Louisiana Department of Health, believes that superbugs can be slowed through judicious antibiotic use, provider education, and consumer awareness. She was a 2016-17 Informatics—Training in Place Program antibiotic resistance fellow with Project Strengthening Health Systems Through Interprofessional Education and is a current fellow of the Association for Professionals in infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc. Washington is a member of numerous epidemiological organizations, including the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists and the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, and serves as a board member for the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology. In 2013, she was recognized as a White House Champion of Change for Prevention and Public Health. She has a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from Louisiana State University and a master of public health in epidemiology from Tulane University.

Teckla Webb

Teckla Webb, D.V.M, M.P.H., is an associate veterinarian at Lee Veterinary Clinic in Hawley, Minnesota. She is a member of the Minnesota One Health Antibiotic Stewardship Collaborative and is currently involved in research at North Dakota State University investigating the circulation of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria among veterinarians. She received a bachelor’s degree from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, a veterinary medicine degree from Colorado State University, and a master of public health degree from North Dakota State University.

Bill Weiss

William Weiss, M.S., is the director of preclinical research services at the University of North Texas System College of Pharmacy, which conducts industry-sponsored research for the discovery and development of new and novel antimicrobial therapies for the treatment of multidrug-resistant bacterial infections. Before that, he was director of drug evaluation at Cumbre Pharmaceuticals Inc., a group leader in infectious disease discovery research at Wyeth Research (Pfizer) and a group leader at Lederle Laboratories and Schering-Plough (Merck). He has participated in numerous antibacterial discovery programs leading to the development of nine marketed antibiotics. He received a bachelor’s degree in microbiology from Rutgers University and a master’s in microbiology from Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Zach Withers

Zach Withers co-owns and runs Polk’s Folly Farm, a small family-run operation in the eastern foothills of the Sandia Mountains in central New Mexico that specializes in heritage breed hogs. He also raises a small flock of laying hens and ducks and a few head of cattle. The farm diverts well over a million pounds of food waste from the landfill each year to feed its animals and uses deep bedded wood chips to absorb animal waste and food waste, which is then composted and used as soil amendment. Polk’s Folly Farm has planted a quarter-acre of apple trees and hopes to continue transforming the property into a silvopastoral food forest. It also has a small brick-and-mortar retail outlet a few miles from the farm where it does much of its own processing and sells products from a growing number of other farms and ranches. Withers’ goal is to develop an agricultural model that is specifically adapted to the ecology of its place, truly regenerative, and socially as well as economically sustainable. The farm uses antibiotics only on the very rare occasion that one of its animals gets sick and workers are unable to heal the animal using natural remedies or by addressing the underlying management issues causing the illness.

Helen Zgurskaya

Helen Zgurskaya, Ph.D., M.S., is a George Lynn Cross professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Oklahoma, where she leads a research program on antibiotic discovery and resistance, multidrug efflux mechanisms, and efflux pump inhibitors. She is a founder of the university’s Center for Antibiotic Resistance and Discovery, an international team composed of 13 research groups spread across five academic campuses and the Oak Ridge and Los Alamos national laboratories. Zgurskaya has written more than 80 papers, several book chapters and is a co-editor of a book. She is also an associate editor of the ACS Infectious Diseases journal and a member of the editorial board of the Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy and Frontiers in Microbiology journals. She received a master’s degree in microbiology from Dnepropetrovsk State University, Ukraine, a doctorate in microbiology from the Russian Academy of Sciences, Russian Federation, and was a postdoctoral researcher at the Stanford University School of Medicine and the University of California, Berkeley.

The front facade of the Supreme Court of the United States in Washington, DC.
ian-hutchinson-U8WfiRpsQ7Y-unsplash.jpg_master

Agenda for America

A collection of resources to help federal, state, and local decision-makers set an achievable agenda for all Americans

Quick View

Data-driven policymaking is not just a tool for finding new solutions for emerging challenges, it makes government more effective and better able to serve the public interest. In the coming months, President Joe Biden and the 117th Congress will tackle a number of environmental, health, public safety, and fiscal and economic issues—nearly all of them complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic. To help solve specific, systemic problems in a nonpartisan fashion, Pew has compiled a series of briefings and recommendations based on our research, technical assistance, and advocacy work across America.

Lightbulbs
Lightbulbs

States of Innovation

Data-driven state policy innovations across America

Quick View

Data-driven policymaking is not just a tool for finding new solutions for difficult challenges. When states serve their traditional role as laboratories of innovation, they increase the American people’s confidence that the government they choose—no matter the size—can be effective, responsive, and in the public interest.