COLLEGE STATION – Dr. Jason Gill has joined the faculty in the department of animal science at Texas A&M University.
Gill will conduct research on the biology and application of bacteriophages, a group of viruses that preys exclusively on bacteria.
“We are pleased to welcome Dr. Gill to the department and the expertise he brings in the area of phage biology,” said Dr. Russell Cross, department head. “His research promises to have a significant impact on how we deal with bacterial diseases and foodborne pathogens in the years to come.”
Phages are the most abundant organisms on Earth, and they are found ubiquitously in water, soil and as part of the microbial flora of animals and plants. As natural predators of bacteria, phages are attractive agents for the control of pathogenic bacteria in humans, animals and foods.
Research in Gill’s lab will encompass phage genomics, basic phage biology and the applications of phages in real-world settings.
“Antibiotic resistance is a big problem in a number of important pathogens, and there’s also pressure to cut the use of antibiotics in animals,” Gill said. “This has really sparked interest in the use of phages as antimicrobials. Phages are a very attractive solution to these problems because they kill antibiotic-resistant bacteria while making more of themselves at the same time, which can amplify their effects. We like to say that phage is the only medicine that grows.”
Gill was born and raised in Canada, receiving a doctorate from the department of food science at the University of Guelph, specializing in microbiology. Prior to joining animal science, Gill pursued postdoctoral training with the Texas A&M department of biochemistry and biophysics, and served as the inaugural program director of the Center for Phage Technology, also at Texas A&M.
The Center for Phage Technology was founded in 2010 as an interdisciplinary research and teaching initiative for the promotion of phage research, and Gill remains a member of the center in his new capacity as collaborating faculty.