A team of researches led by Professor Shahriar Mobashery and Mayland Chang developed an antibiotic to combat Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, a strain of a certain species of bacteria that is resistant to a considerable number of conventional modern antibiotics.“MRSA is a multi-drug resistant version of a very common bacterium called staph aureus,” Mobashery said. “Staph aureus grows in our skin, grows in our noses, and has been with humanity for a very long time. However, this version, which is drug resistant, first appeared in 1962 in the U.K. and has become a global problem.”Mobashery said understanding the biochemical properties of MRSA that allow it to resist the effects of conventional antibiotics gave them valuable information and resources to develop an antibiotic to respond to the problem.“How does this organism have these biochemical properties that make it so difficult for treatment? That is a question my lab concerns itself with,” Mobashery said. “We want to understand the basis for the drug resistance this very difficult organism has developed over the many decades after its appearance.“When we understand some of the details of the biochemical event, can we subvert them in a way that leads to the demise of the organism? The answer to that question is yes, and we have come up with strategies that lend themselves to specifically addressing the methods that MRSA has devised for resistance,” he said. “We are actually able to take that and turn [them] around to … kill the organism.”Mobashery said finding and developing the drug to exploit the weaknesses he and his team found in MRSA was a massive computational undertaking, narrowing over 1.2 million candidates to just 118 compounds.“1.2 compounds were so called ‘docked’ and ‘scored’ and … then, out of a collection of 2,500 compounds that had promise, we did some further analysis on which one of those were worthy of pursuit because not all of them were easy to synthesize. So we wanted to ideally buy some of these compounds,” he said.“We ended up choosing the 118 compounds … because they were commercially available and synthetically accessible.”Mobashery said the compounds were observed to effectively destroy MRSA in mice infected with the bacteria and that he saw a promising future for his work with the organism with the help of the University and collaboration with other researchers,” Mobashery said.“In principle, the University is very much interested in exploring whether companies will step up and move this class of molecules forward into clinical trials. That is something we won’t be able to do ourselves and we need partners and that’s a possibility. But research is ongoing on MRSA because of our broad interest in this organism and I’ve been at it for something like a dozen years and I trust that in a dozen years I’ll still be at it.”Tags: antibiotic, drug-resistant bacteria, Mayland Chang, MRSA, Shariar Mobashery
Four teams had never won 100 games in the same season before 2019. Four teams had never lost 100 games in the same season, either. The disparity between the best of the best and the worst of the worst teams has never looked so large.The regular-season schedule does not discriminate between winners and losers, however. Everyone had to play 162 games – almost. The Detroit Tigers managed to lose 114 games even though rain canceled a game from their final series against the Chicago White Sox. The two teams were left with a decidedly uneven 161-game season.Consider it a step in the right direction.Until 1961, teams played no more than 154 games in a season unless a tiebreaker was needed to determine the World Series participants. Would fans of the Tigers, Royals (59-103), Marlins (57-105) and Orioles (54-108) complain about four fewer home dates? Would fans of the Astros (107-55), Dodgers (106-56), Yankees (103-59) and Twins (101-61) complain about trading a few summer games against the cellar-dwelling teams in their division for an extra playoff game or two?“Yes” is the hopeful answer here. Mine is not merely a plea for more aesthetically pleasing baseball, with better teams playing better games more of the time. There’s reason to believe the disparity of 2019 is not a fluke. Ever since the Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros won the World Series in 2016 and 2017, respectively, their roster-building model – stripping the organization for parts, then rebuilding for the long term – has gone mainstream. No longer controversial, the “wholesale rebuild” has become accepted practice. It’s playoffs or bust.For teams that bust, there are consequences. In January I spoke with economics professor JC Bradbury, who had just studied the economics of “tanking” in professional sports. In MLB, Bradbury found that postseason participation was associated with a $5 million increase in per-team revenue. The Seattle Mariners have baseball’s longest playoff drought, at 18 seasons and counting. That’s a lot of lost revenue.Subsequently, we’ve seen the impact of prolonged rebuilds on attendance. The Marlins brought up the rear this season, with an average of 10,016 fans per game. The four biggest year-over-year attendance declines belonged to teams in the throes of a rebuild: Toronto, Seattle, San Francisco and Detroit. A fascinating follow-up to Bradbury’s 2018 research would explore how much regular-season revenue each team lost – attendance and otherwise – by virtue of rebuilding their rosters.Regardless, according to Forbes’ most recent team-by-team value rankings, even the poorest team by revenue (the Oakland A’s) pulled in $218 million as measured by EBITDA. Since $5 million is relatively little in the grander financial scheme, Major League Baseball could use a more powerful mechanism for incentivizing teams to make the playoffs.Here’s an easy one that fans and owners alike can get behind: expand the postseason. Make the Division Series round a best-of-seven affair. Make the wild-card participants play a best-of-3. Give the best teams more games, more opportunities to fill their stands and better games against better competition.Convincing the players, who must participate in the longest season in professional sports, might be more difficult. A tradeoff is in order. Roll back the regular season to 154 games, and the league might have a starting point for negotiating an expanded postseason with the players’ union.Those conversations are better left for the offseason, but now is the best time to highlight its necessity. The typical postseason game, to this point in October, has been vastly more entertaining than the typical game from April to September. For the sake of the baseball, let’s hope the two sides find a way to make the money make sense. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error It’ll never happen.Not in a million years.There’s too much money at stake.Still, we can dream. From the time pitchers and catchers reported to spring training, to the first round of the playoffs, the 2019 season has amounted to a brilliant advertisement for a better way to divvy up eight months’ worth of baseball games.
It is Champs 1976 and grand showdowns loomed in more ways than one.Everald Samuels’, St Andrew Technical High School’s meteoric rise loomed large.Samuels seemed destined to upstage the reigning 100 metres champion, Balford ‘Bally’ Reid of Kingston College (KC).It was an era when KC harboured the notion that although red, the stadium track was its domain.Samuels and Calabar High had different plans.And so it was also a year when the long reign of KC as Boys’ athletics champions was under severe threat.KC had been victorius for 14 consecutive years, stretching from 1962 to 1975.A year earlier, Bally Reid had set a new mark of 10.4 seconds (hand-timed). But in 1976, Samuels, the high-kneed wonder boy, emerged out of the Bumper Hall-based school hitherto devoid of a reputation in the sprints.On Friday, the first of the two-day event, 40 years ago, both Reid and Samuels cruised through the heats of the 100 metres.Tensions were lifted to fever pitch, however, as the dominant duo drew the same semi-finals race.The stage was set in an arena that was not for the faint of heart.There was silence at the start of the race and noise in between. When it was done, there was a thunderous hush in the section of the bleachers painted ‘purple’.Samuels not only conquered the mighty ‘Bally Reid’, he also equalled the record of 10.4 seconds set by Reid the previous year.A new star was born, underlining the beginning of the end of the long dynasty of the redoubtable KC as Calabar, perennial rivals, rebounded with colour and ferocity for the first time in 15 years to secure the Mortimer Geddes Trophy.Samuels, though, was not done.He was even more dominant in the 200 metres, becoming the first schoolboy athlete to run under 21 seconds (hand-timed).His record 20.9 seconds stood until it was broken by Clarendon College’s Norman Mills in 1979.