Dr. Adams comes from a rich background including industry, government, academic, and nonprofit settings. Throughout, he has focused on applying leading edge genomic and bioinformatic approaches to a variety of research problems in biology.
As one of the founding scientists at TIGR, Dr. Adams contributed extensively to the first genome sequence of a free-living organism, Haemophilus influenzae, and other microbial genomes. A co-founder of Celera Genomics, he led the DNA sequencing and genome annotation groups. He directed the Drosophila, human, and mouse genome sequencing projects, and a large-scale re-sequencing program to identify novel SNPs in humans.
From 2003-2011, Dr. Adams was Associate Professor of Genetics at Case Western Reserve University where he developed a research program in the evolution and mechanisms of antibiotic resistance in the nosocomial pathogen Acinetobacter baumannii. He also served as Director of the Genomics Core facility.
From 2011-2016, Dr. Adams was the Scientific Director and Professor at the J. Craig Venter Institute. There he directed programs that characterized genomic changes in the evolution of antibiotic resistance in hospital-acquired infections.
The mechanism of colistin resistance (Col(r)) in Acinetobacter baumannii was studied by selecting in vitro Col(r) derivatives of the multidrug-resistant A. baumannii isolate AB0057 and the drug-susceptible strain ATCC 17978, using escalating concentrations of colistin in liquid culture. DNA sequencing identified mutations in genes encoding the two-component system proteins PmrA and/or PmrB in each strain and in a Col(r) clinical isolate. A colistin-susceptible revertant of one Col(r) mutant strain, obtained following serial passage in the absence of colistin selection, carried a partial deletion of pmrB. Growth of AB0057 and ATCC 17978 at pH 5.5 increased the colistin MIC and conferred protection from killing by colistin in a 1-hour survival assay. Growth in ferric chloride [Fe(III)] conferred a small protective effect. Expression of pmrA was increased in Col(r) mutants, but not at a low pH, suggesting that additional regulatory factors remain to be discovered.