Social Innovation on Drug Resistance (SIDR) Postdoctoral Program
Drug resistance is an inevitable biological process driven by evolution, but made worse by human behavior, threatening to usher in a post-antibiotic era. While the new products created from CARB-X’s pre-clinical product development support are an important step in preventing that, an equally important challenge is to understand the impact of human behavior on the evolution of drug-resistant microbes. The tools for this effort will be interdisciplinary, rooted in the social sciences.
To advance these important goals The Institute for Health System Innovation & Policy and the Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator, or CARB-X, created SIDR, an interdisciplinary postdoctoral fellowship program focused on the interaction of human behavior and drug-resistant infections.
Solutions to these problems will require interdisciplinary teams rooted in the social sciences. To help create these solutions, the SIDR Postdoctoral Program provides two academic years of funding to cover a competitive salary and benefits for postdoctoral associates recruited to work on innovative projects proposed by Boston University faculty teams.
This program allows for a diversity of collaborative projects and makes data from CARB-X available for research.
Kevin Outterson, JD, (LAW) is the Director of SIDR.
Current SIDR Research
Following the latest application round, BU professors across seven BU Schools will work with five post docs on interdisciplinary research projects applying social science to the problem of drug-resistant infections:
Uptake of Rapid Diagnostic Tests for Infectious Diseases and Behavioral Factors Influencing Use: Development of a Behavioral Model
Led by principal investigator (PI) Tamar Barlam from the Section of Infectious Diseases in the Department of Medicine (MED), in collaboration with Mari-Lynn Drainoni (Health, Law, Policy & Management; SPH), Pengsheng Ni (Health Law, Policy & Management, SPH), and Postdoctoral Associate Shana Burrowes.
Drs. Barlam, Drainoni, and Ni are studying physician behavior to understand why rapid diagnostic testing has not consistently improved prescribing in real-world settings, why there is not consistent uptake of these innovations, and how to overcome those behavioral barriers during the product development process. They are also exploring how to incorporate consideration of provider behavior into Phase two and three clinical trials.
Economics of Science, Innovation, & Project Performance
Led by PI Jeffrey Furman from the Department of Strategy & Innovation (Questrom), in collaboration with James Bessen (LAW), Iain Cockburn (Strategy & Innovation; Questrom), Megan MacGarvie (Markets, Public Policy, & Law; Questrom), Michael Meurer (LAW), and Postdoctoral Associate Sina Khoshsokhan.
Dr. Furman and his colleagues will be using CARB-X data to address questions associated with the economics of science and innovation, the performance of projects associated with CARB-X, and the design of the CARB-X program overall. These questions include:
1. To what extent does the CARB-X program impact project and firm performance?
2. Which types of evaluation best predict novelty & commercial success in ventures like those funded by CARB-X?
3. Which patenting strategies are most effective for biopharmaceutical ventures seeking to raise funds in the wake of recent decisions affecting the patentability of subject matter?
Identifying and Correcting Misinformation and Misuse of Antibiotics and Antimicrobial Resistance through Social Media Health Interventions
Led by PI Dylan Walker from the Department of Information Systems (Questrom), in collaboration with Belinda Borrelli (Health Policy & Health Services Research; SDM) and Postdoctoral Associate Hyunuk Kim.
Drs. Walker and Borrelli are seeking to understand the state of AMR-related knowledge and perceptions on social media, how these are distributed across socially networked populations and how they spread. They will be using a series of randomized controlled trials of social media AMR interventions to estimate the causal impact of multiple intervention strategies on different types of individuals.
Antimicrobial Resistance Due to Poor Medicine Quality in Bangladesh: Situation Analysis of Awareness, Practices and Policies Using a One Health Approach
Led by PI Muhammad Zaman from the Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Materials Science & Engineering (ENG), in collaboration with Veronika Wirtz (Global Health; SPH) and Postdoctoral Associate Samuel Orubu.
Dr. Zaman and Dr. Wirtz’s research seeks to examine the role of poor quality medicines as a driving force for the emergence of antimicrobial resistance. This relationship has been largely ignored, to the potential detriment of an effective and comprehensive response to AMR. Conducted in Bangladesh, their work will assess: the awareness of stakeholders (farmers, pharmacists, veterinarians, public health professionals and government policy makers) to AMR and poor quality medicines, the integrity of the local antimicrobial medicine supply chain, the pharmaceutical policy in relation to One Health, and the use of antimicrobials in livestock.
Social and Behavioral Drivers of South Africa's Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis Epidemic
In collaboration with South Africa’s National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS), Dr. Bor’s team has developed a national TB cohort that enables – for the first time – longitudinal follow-up of all patients receiving TB and DR-TB care and treatment in the country. Leveraging this cohort, the team will assess the roles of retention and migration rates in the emergence of new DR-TB hotspots in South Africa.
Apply to SIDR
The 2019 application process is closed to faculty applicants at this time. Individuals interested in the program may contact email@example.com with any questions they may have about future application rounds or potential for collaboration with current SIDR teams.
While any interdisciplinary project related to drug-resistant infections in the social environment is in scope, consider the following examples of the types of faculty research projects that we hope to support:
- Most antibiotics are used inappropriately, including patients with viral infections. While diagnostic devices are available that can distinguish between viral and bacterial infections, they are rarely used in a way that changes the key clinical practice of interest: appropriate prescription of antibiotics. Barriers to appropriate diagnostic use are less technical (bench science) and more social (reimbursement, clinical pathways, patient expectations, hospital and physician culture, fear of liability). We need to understand these social factors so that diagnostics lead to more appropriate use of antibiotics. CARB-X has the world’s largest portfolio of early-stage rapid point-of-care diagnostics for serious bacterial infections, so a post-doc researcher will have unparalleled access to relevant data and stakeholders.
- While deaths from drug-resistant bacteria are significant globally, more people die from susceptible bacterial infections. They could have been cured with a generic antibiotic that is already discovered, cheap, off patent and still effective. This unheralded global access crisis kills several hundred thousand children under 5 each year, but is poorly understood. The barriers are not scientific (the drug is already discovered and in use), nor is it patent law that stands in the way (the drugs are generic). Quality assurance in this market is low in developing countries, and patient behavior is also suboptimal.
- Recent surveys demonstrate that most people share significant misunderstanding about drug-resistant infections. While the US, EU and WHO have mounted some educational campaigns in recent years on drug resistance, the impact is not well characterized in the peer-reviewed literature. Research is needed to map human misperceptions about drug resistance and to carefully evaluate educational techniques to improve behavior. Interventions might include social media, mass media, and long-term changes in the global science curriculum for primary schools.
- The US government and other funders spend billions of dollars to support innovation. What do we know about the efficiency of these grant funding mechanisms? One challenge is the absence of comprehensive longitudinal data in order to assess effectiveness. CARB-X is building a dataset that will include almost all relevant inputs and outputs for the global R&D innovation system for antibiotics, creating an unparalleled opportunity for understanding innovation with a novel dataset.
- Funding will cover only salary and benefits of the postdoctoral associate. The faculty PIs and/or their department will be responsible for securing any travel or research funds
- The program will be open only to postdoctoral applicants who received their doctorate after December 2017
- Faculty must be from Boston University
- Projects must be interdisciplinary, including 2+ BU faculty from different disciplines, departments, and/or schools
- The project must have a strong behavioral and/or social science component, and include a faculty member with the appropriate domain expertise*
- The project must be both scientifically novel and meritorious
- Preference will be given to projects that show synergies with the data or networks related to CARB-X. Examples of synergy include using CARB-X data, CARB-X networks or other CARB-X resources as an important part of the research program
- The strength of the mentor plan. We see the development of our future postdoctoral associates as being of the highest priority
*Behavioral and social sciences can include, but are not limited to: sociology, psychology, anthropology, communications, political science, demography, public health, management, economics, marketing, education, law, and social work. This does not mean that the faculty appointment of all team members needs to be in a department that carries the name of one of these disciplines.
Required Application Material
- Curriculum vitae (including a list of the candidates scientific publications) for all faculty PIs
- Project proposal (3 pages maximum)
- Proposed mentor plan
- Completed postdoctoral associate job description
- Postdoctoral associate recruitment plan
- If you have mentored postdoctoral associates in the past, please include a list of former mentees and their current positions
In your proposal, please include the following:
- Project title
- Information for all PIs
- Project overview
- Importance to society
- Project description, including its readiness and dependencies, expected outcomes and deliverables, and potential future extramural funding sources
- Justification for selection, including how the project meets the selection criteria, the value added by and gained by a postdoctoral associate, and why it is not currently appropriate or ready for other available funding sources
Submit an Application
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to have a particular postdoc candidate in mind?
No – BU faculty can apply for a slot without any particular candidate in mind. If the proposal is accepted, the BU faculty can then recruit globally to fill the post-doc.
How is SIDR connected to CARB-X?
Although connected in mission and their Boston University home, SIDR and CARB-X are separate entities. SIDR awardees may obtain access to CARB-X data for their work – as constrained by CARB-X confidentiality policies – but they must follow the same approval procedure as any other interested researcher. However, CARB-X and SIDR encourage their team members to engage across the programs, attend each other’s events, and collaborate on future work.
Can I submit an application using a project that is already underway?
SIDR is looking for novel, cross-disciplinary collaborations, so existing projects will not be funded.
Will current postdocs at be BU be able to apply for this program?
Current postdocs at BU are not eligible for the program.
Will I be able to extend or renew the term of my postdoc?
SIDR will fund only the original two academic year appointment. However, Faculty and their postdocs would be free to apply for funding from other sources.
What will be the primary department of the postdocs?
Each postdoc will have a primary academic home in the sponsoring BU school and academic department, with a lead faculty member. The IHSIP will serve as their administrative home.
Do I have control over the postdoc selected for my project?
Faculty PIs will drive the selection of the postdoc for their project, with final selection subject to approval from the SIDR Program.
When will the postdoc start?
Summer or Fall 2018, for a term of two years.
Who should I contact with questions?
Please contact Sarah George, Director of Administration of the Institute for Health System Innovation & Policy, at firstname.lastname@example.org.