John F. III and Ann H. Bookout Distinguished Chair for Research Excellence, Research Institute
Professor of Medicine, Academic Institute
Full Member, Research Institute
Co-director, Center for Infectious Diseases Research
Weill Cornell Medical College
Dr. Cesar Arias has over 25 years of experience in the field of antimicrobial resistance. His career has focused on the clinical and molecular aspects of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) with emphasis on gram-positive organisms. He became interested in infectious disease (ID) because of its prominence as a public health problem and also because ID spans all aspects of clinical medicine. After medical school, he attended the University of London where he focused on clinical microbiology and performed research on the molecular biology of capsule genes in S. pneumoniae, developing molecular tools for capsule typing of this important pathogen. He obtained his PhD at Cambridge in 2000, studying the molecular mechanisms of vancomycin resistance in enterococci. During graduate studies, he discovered a new enzyme and elucidated a novel mechanism for synthesis of D-serine in bacteria. After completing residency at UTHealth McGovern Medical School as well as a fellowship in ID (joint program with UT MD Anderson Cancer Center), he expanded studies on staphylococci and enterococci.
He was the recipient of a K99/R00 NIH Pathway to Independence Award and now holds an NIH K24 mid-career investigator award to increase patient-oriented and mentoring activities on antimicrobial resistance. He has also founded two overseas research units (Molecular Genetics and Antimicrobial Resistance Unit and the International Center for Microbial Genomics) focused on AMR at Universidad El Bosque, Bogota, Colombia. His most recent research has concentrated on elucidating the mechanistic basis of resistance to daptomycin with focus on enterococci and to dissect the molecular epidemiology and clinical impact of multidrug-resistant organisms as part of the NIH-funded Antimicrobial Resistance Leadership Group. A major component of the research on MDR organisms is the use of genomics as a major tool to dissect the molecular epidemiology and population structure of MDR bacteria.