Bruce R. Levin, PhD

Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor

Phone: 404 727 2826 (office) 404 727 2956 (Lab)


Research Interests

Our research includes theoretical and in vitro experimental studies of the population and evolutionary dynamics of antibiotic treatment and the epidemiology of resistance in open communities and hospitals.

For our research on the population and evolutionary dynamics of antibiotic treatment, we use mathematical and computer simulation models of bacterial infections that incorporate the pharmacodynamics of single and pairs of antibiotics with the population dynamics of bacteria and the innate and adaptive immune response.   To estimate the parameters of these models and test the hypothesis generated from our analysis of their properties, we do (or have done) in vitro experiments with Staphylococcus aureus, E. coli, and Mycobacteria marinum and most recently with cultured macrophage.    Our current research on the phamaco- and population- dynamics of antibiotic treatment is directed at elucidating:

  1. The role of physical structure of bacterial populations (colonies as well as biofilms) on the pharmacodynamics of antibiotics of different classes and course of antibiotic treatment.
  2. Why (and how) bacteriostatic antibiotics with low rates of kill are as effective in treating bacterial infections as highly bactericidal drugs.
  3. The potential of different (often older) antibiotics to treat infections of modestly resistant bacteria.   By using MICs as the criteria for susceptibility are we wasting effective antibiotics?
  4. The pharmacodynamics low concentrations of bactericidal antibiotics and S. aureus and the contribution of subMIC levels of these drugs on the clearance of infections and the emergence of resistance.
  5. How to use disk diffusion assay data to estimate MICs and accuracy of these estimates.   

Other than occasionally estimating the fitness cost of antibiotic resistance in vitro, our studies of the epidemiology of antibiotic use and resistance have been purely theoretical = mathematical and computer simulation modeling.  Of particular interest in these investigations has been the efficacy of different regimes for using multiple antibiotics on the emergence and ascent of resistance.  While we recently published an article the emergence and spread of resistance during the treatment of acute infections, we have no ongoing studies of epidemiology of antibiotic treatment.  But that may change, “mathematical and computer simulation modeling isn't real work.”