New Faculty Focus: Jason Peters
Name: Jason Peters
Title: Assistant Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Pharmacy
Hometown: Cape Girardeau, Missouri
Educational/professional background: B.S. in Biology and B.S. in Secondary Education, Southeast Missouri State University, 2005; Ph.D. in Genetics, University of Wisconsin–Madison, 2012; postdoctoral fellow, University of California, San Francisco
How did you get into your field of research? I fell in love with bacteria while working as an undergraduate technician in a microbiology lab. Bacteria are fascinating, versatile organisms that can be a boon to human health but can also kill you. Despite their outward simplicity, the inner workings of bacteria are stunningly complex. I sought to tease apart this complexity using the awesome power of bacterial genetics, first as a graduate student here at UW–Madison, then as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, San Francisco. During my postdoctoral work, I began to appreciate the gravity of upcoming antibiotic resistance crisis—we will soon be out of weapons to fight resistant bacterial pathogens. My current efforts are focused on identifying new weaknesses in these pathogens that can be exploited by drugs developed by my colleagues in the School of Pharmacy.
What attracted you to UW–Madison? UW–Madison is unrivaled in combining world-class microbiology with the opportunity to work with phenomenal researchers in drug discovery and clinical applications. Also, the Babcock Hall Dairy Store.
What was your first visit to campus like? Amazing! I’d never seen a frozen lake before, and people were flying kites on it!
Favorite place on campus? The lakeshore path. Would you like to go to Picnic Point or the Union Terrace? Yes, please.
What are you most enjoying so far about working here? The research environment is incredibly supportive and collaborative.
Do you feel your work relates in any way to the Wisconsin Idea? Definitely! I hope my research on antibiotic resistance eventually leads to new therapies that improve the health and quality of life for people throughout Wisconsin (and even the world). Wisconsin is now my home and I want to do what I can to support it.
What’s something interesting about your area of expertise you can share that will make us sound smarter at parties? Some estimates predict that deaths caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria will outpace cancer-related deaths by 2050. Scary!
Hobbies/other interests: Karaoke. Bring it on.