Next Lecture

New Challenges and Public Health Implications of Microbial Resistance to Biocidal Processes


1358cf3Speaker: Dr. Gerald McDonnell, Vice President,

Research and Clinical Services Steris

Date: February 19, 2014

Time: 12:30-1:30 pm

Place: 665 Huntington Ave, Building 1, Room 1302, Boston, MA 02115

Abstract:  The control of microorganisms and microbial growth is an important consideration in public health.  This includes various disinfection and sterilization technologies that are used for the control of microorganisms on surfaces, in products/liquids or in air.  These play important roles in our daily lives, including the provision of safe drinking water, production and preservation of products, use of medical devices, biosafety controls and decontamination of general surfaces. Various chemical (referred to as ‘biocides’) and physical inactivation methods are widely used to render surfaces and products safe.  In most cases, the modes of action of these processes are quite distinct from the more specific mechanisms of action described for anti-infective agents such as antibiotics and antiviral agents.  They generally demonstrate a much wider range of antimicrobial activity, corresponding with non-specific and varied modes of action.  Despite these traditions, microbial control issues continue to challenge us.  This presentation will discuss some recent examples of inactivation studies with viruses, bacteria, protozoa and prions (infectious proteins) that challenge our current definitions and expectations for disinfection/sterilization processes.  These reports challenge our understanding of microbial resistance patterns and survival capabilities to established antimicrobial methods.

Biographical Sketch: Dr. Gerald McDonnell is a Vice President for STERIS Corporation, based at their European headquarters in the U.K. Dr. McDonnell has a B.Sc. (Hons.) in Medical Laboratory Sciences from the University of Ulster and a Ph.D. in Microbial Genetics from Trinity College Dublin. He has worked for STERIS for 13 years in the United States and Europe on the development, research and support of infection prevention products and services, including cleaning, antisepsis, disinfection and sterilization methods. His basic research interests include infection prevention, decontamination microbiology, emerging pathogens and the mode of action/resistance to biocides. He is a frequent presenter at international conferences and is a member of working committees developing US and international standards/guidelines. His publications include a book with the American Society of Microbiology entitled ‘Antisepsis, Disinfection and Sterilization: Types, Action and Resistance’.