Health Sciences Building, 155 College Street, 7th floor lounge
  • March 26, 2019 from 12:00pm to 1:30pm

In November of 2015, epidemiologist Steffanie Strathdee and her husband, psychologist Tom Patterson, were vacationing in Egypt when Tom came down with a stomach bug. What at first seemed like a case of severe food poisoning quickly turned critical, and by the time Tom had been transferred via emergency medevac to the world-class medical center at UC San Diego, where both he and Steffanie were on staff, blood work revealed why modern medicine was failing: Tom was fighting one of the most dangerous, antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the world.

Frantic, as her husband slipped into a coma and ever-closer to death, Strathdee combed through research old and new and came across phage therapy: the idea that the right virus, aka “the perfect predator,” can kill even the most lethal bacteria. Phage treatment had fallen out of favor almost 100 years ago, after antibiotic use went mainstream. Now, with time running out, Strathdee appealed to phage researchers all over the world for help. She found allies at the FDA, researchers from Texas A&M, and a high-security Navy biomedical center-and together they resurrected a forgotten cure, and saved Tom.

The Perfect Predator: A Scientist’s Race to Save Her Husband from a Deadly Superbug: A Memoir (on sale February 26, 2019; Hachette Books; ISBN 9780316418089; $28; 352 pages) is a bracing medical-mystery memoir in the vein of Brain on Fire, that tells the incredible story of Strathdee’s fight to save her husband’s life, which led her to rediscover a forgotten treatment for antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Her search, and the inspired team of scientists and doctors she found, led to an experimental treatment that would save Tom and offer hope for solving one of the most lethal and urgent issues facing the world medical community today. A nail-biting tale of suspense…

Steffanie Strathdee, PhD. Dr. Steffanie Strathdee obtained her BSc, MSc, and PhD from the University of Toronto. Her MSc and PhD is in Epidemiology from the Dalla Lana School of Public Health (then the Department of Community Health), where she was the first recipient of the Randall Coates Epidemiology Prize. A dual citizen of Canada and the U.S, she is Associate Dean of Global Health Sciences, Professor and Harold Simon Chair at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine. She also co-directs UC San Diego’s Center for Innovative Phage Applications and Therapeutics (IPATH) and UC San Diego Global Health Institute and is an Adjunct Professor at Johns Hopkins and Simon Fraser Universities. Steffanie is an infectious disease epidemiologist who has nearly 20 years’ experience and over 600 peer-reviewed publications on the prevention of HIV, sexually transmitted infection and viral hepatitis among marginalized populations.

Thomas Patterson is an evolutionary sociobiologist and an experimental psychologist. A Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry at UC San Diego, he has renowned expertise on behavioral interventions among HIV-positive persons and those at high risk of acquiring HIV and sexually transmitted infections.

Dr. Patterson and Dr. Strathdee have worked as husband and wife AIDS researchers on the Mexico-US border for over a decade. This is their first book together. https://theperfectpredator.com/