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Student & Alumni Achievements

Student & Alumni Achievements

Florida Student Named to 2017 List of Students Who Rocked Public Health

JPHMP Direct, the companion site of the Journal of Public Health Management & Practice, recognized Ms. Marissa Valentine-King as one of three “Students Who Rocked Public Health in 2017.” Ms. Valentine-King is a doctoral candidate in One Health in the department of environmental and global health at the University of Florida College of Public Health and Health Professions.

[Photo: Ms. Valentine-King]

JPHMP Direct cited Ms. Valentine-King’s discovery of a rare mutation in Ureaplasma parvum, a pathogen associated with urinary tract infections (UTIs). The mutation causes resistance to levofloxacin, an antibiotic used to treat Ureaplasma infections. Ms. Valentine-King and her mentor, Dr. Mary Brown, a professor in the department of infectious diseases and immunology at the UF College of Veterinary Medicine, reported their findings in the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. It is believed to be the first report of this specific genetic mutation in Ureaplasma in the U.S. It is also the first study to evaluate antibiotic resistance in Ureaplasma isolates from college-aged women with first-time UTIs.

Unfortunately, treatment options for Ureaplasma infections are already limited, as Ureaplasma infections do not respond to some of the most frequently-prescribed antibiotic medications.

“Resistance in this organism is especially problematic as drugs typically used to treat UTIs, such as penicillin and Bactrim, are useless against Ureaplasma due to its unique structure and properties,” Ms. Valentine-King said.

The UF team’s findings are available for clinicians so that they can track patterns of antibiotic resistance in their areas.

“Studies like this one can help physicians select appropriate treatments based on regional resistance profiles,” Ms. Valentine-King said.