The Boston Area Antibiotic Resistance Network (BAARN) was founded in response to the challenge, which has been called by some a looming crisis, of antibiotic resistance. The guiding philosophy of BAARN is to take a rational, scientific, information-based approach to understanding the problem of antibiotic resistance – in all of its dimensions – and to find a solution that is implementable and works. Affiliates of BAARN come from the highest levels of academics, industry, and government oversight agencies.

History. Initially in response to the proliferation of vancomycin resistance among hospital isolates of enterococci, and the spread of this resistance to a common cause of infection in the community as well as in hospitals, Staphylococcus aureus, the Harvard-wide Program on Antibiotic Resistance (HWPAR) was launched. This program drew together an interdisciplinary team of scientists from across the Harvard University and Harvard Medical School landscape, most of whom are associated with the Harvard Microbial Sciences Initiative. The goals of this project were to take novel approaches to understand the proliferation and spread of antibiotic resistance among these pathogens, and to develop new strategies for finding new drugs to treat them. The program was officially launched in 2009 with support from the US National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Scientists involved in this program have laboratories in the Harvard Medical School, Harvard University Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Massachusetts General Hospital, and the program is headquartered in the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. Additionally, advisors from Cubist Inc., EurofinsMedinet, and MedImmune contributed their insights.

In fulfillment of the charge to bring together interdisciplinary teams of scientists from academics, industry and federal agencies to help find solutions to the rapidly growing problem of antibiotic resistance, a think tank was held at the Harvard University Faculty Club in November 2012. This meeting was a collaborative effort between HWPAR and industry leaders, including those at AstraZeneca. Speakers from academics, industry and federal agencies were challenged to be provocative and audacious in an attempt to think about the problem in new ways. The meeting was a robust success, which led to the suggestion by members of the AstraZeneca team to hold the next event at their headquarters in Waltham MA the following year, and to double the size of attendance. To reflect the broad interest in the leading public health problem of antibiotic resistance and the desire to draw in the best minds in the region from all institutions, the Boston Area Antibiotic Resistance Network (BAARN) was launched. The programs from the 2012 and 2013 meetings can be found here.

This website represents the next logical extension of these efforts, by providing a readily accessible venue for sharing information about the problem, and stimulating discussions aimed at finding solutions.