Abstract: Infections by antimicrobial resistance (AMR) pathogens are on the rise while the development of novel antimicrobials has been stalled for some time now. This perfect storm highlights the need for new strategies aimed at combating AMR pathogens. Víctor J. Torres and his research team seek to understand the intricate dance between human pathogens and their mammalian host to identify vulnerabilities that could lead to the development of novel therapeutics. Amongst AMR pathogens, the team has focused most of their efforts on Staphylococcus aureus, a bacterium that has proven to be a formidable challenge for vaccine and drug developers. S. aureus is a multifaceted bacterium that subverts many of the host’s immune defenses required for pathogen eradication. In this seminar, Professor Torres will share his journey as an URM in science and provide an update on the team’s efforts in dissecting S. aureus pathogenesis and host-mediated control of this pathogen.
About Professor Torres:
Dr. Torres’ laboratory focuses on understanding host-bacterial pathogen interactions with a special interest in drug-resistant bacteria. Dr. Torres is an engaging speaker and you can hear a bit about his work from the 2021 MacArthur Foundation video: Victor J. Torres: Investigating how bacterial pathogens overcome the immune system and identifying potential therapies.
Professor Torres grew up in Rincon, Puerto Rico, and earned his bachelor’s degree in industrial microbiology from the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez campus. He completed his doctoral studies on the mechanism of action of the Helicobacter pylori vacuolating cytotoxin under the supervision of Professor Timothy L. Cover at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. For his postdoctoral fellowship, Professor Torres studied Staphylococcus aureus pathogenesis under the tutelage of Professor Eric P. Skaar, also at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. He joined the faculty of the Department of Microbiology at New York University Grossman School of Medicine in 2008 where he is currently the C.V. Starr Professor of Microbiology and the Director of the Antimicrobial-Resistance Pathogens Program. Professor Torres and his team have contributed extensively to the field of bacterial pathogenesis publishing over 100 scientific manuscripts. He also contributes to the scientific community by serving as an editor for the American Society for Microbiology journals Infection and Immunity and mBio and as an associate editor for the American Association for the Advancement of Science journal Science Advances. Professor Torres is a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Investigator in the Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease fellow, a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, and a 2021 MacArthur Fellow.