By Elaine Watkins-Miller, Iowa State University Foundation

The Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust of Muscatine, Iowa, has committed $243,585 to provide state-of-the-art instrumentation that will help advance research in antimicrobial resistance, infectious disease diagnostics and more at Iowa State University.

“Antimicrobial resistance is an urgent and serious threat to global health because it impedes or prevents effective treatments of a range of infections,” said Orhan Sahin, assistant professor in the department of veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine. “Rapid and accurate detection of antimicrobial resistance genes and pathogens and additional research is essential for combating the threat, and we are grateful for the Carver Trust’s generous support of these efforts.”

Antimicrobial resistance is the event in which microorganisms change to be able to defeat drugs such as antibiotics and antivirals. Iowa State University – and the College of Veterinary Medicine in particular – has broad and diverse expertise in microbiology, molecular biology, food safety, chemistry, biomedicine and diagnostic medicine with an application toward antimicrobial resistance.

Iowa State has state-of-the-art equipment for isolation and identification of antimicrobial resistance bacterial organisms. Within the College of Veterinary Medicine, large numbers of samples are processed every day for accurate and timely diagnosis of a diverse range of bacterial and fungal pathogens.

For many decades both at Iowa State and elsewhere in the world, biochemical methods – which take up to two days – were the main means used for bacterial and fungal identification following the culture. However, during the last decade, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization-Time of Flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometers have been adopted in clinical microbiology labs at Iowa State and around the world for microbial identification, and it has been a paradigm-shifting technology since it provides results that are more accurate, cheaper to obtain and faster – taking minutes versus days.

Thanks to the generosity of the Carver Trust, the research capabilities of a significant number of Iowa State researchers will be advanced and broadened with the acquisition of a new MALDI Biotyper Sirius system. Fundamental research undertakings in infectious disease diagnostics, metagenomics and antimicrobial resistance will highly benefit from this state-of-the art technology. For the first time, the MALDI Biotyper Sirius also supports novel negative-ion mode assay research and clinical studies in fast antibiotic-resistance testing.

The Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust of Muscatine, Iowa, is one of the largest private philanthropic foundations in the state of Iowa, with assets of $350 million and annual grant distributions of $16 million. It was created through the will of Roy J. Carver, a Muscatine industrialist and philanthropist, who died in 1981.

The Carver Trust made its gift commitment through the Iowa State University Foundation. The foundation is a private, nonprofit organization committed to securing and managing gifts that benefit Iowa State University. The Forever True, For Iowa State campaign, with a historic goal to raise $1.5 billion, will help support Iowa State in becoming the premier land-grant university for the 21st century and beyond.