Genetic engineer presents 2012 Kimball Lecture

Andrew Grandinetti

Genetic engineer Richard H. Baltz presented the development of lipopeptide antibiotics, during the 2012 Grace Kimball Memorial Lecture on Friday April 27, at Wilkes University.

Baltz’s presentation had many students and faculty confused and in awe as he discussed how taking his lipopeptide and introducing other variables to it will create an antibiotic that is no longer toxic to humans. Instead, this antibiotic could be used to help prevent strep throat from happening in humans.

Baltz is author and editor of “Details Citation Manual of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology” and is a prominent industrial microbiologist, widely recognized for his contributions to the understanding and exploitation of the genetics of streptomyces species, which produce the majority of natural antibacterial compounds.

“The product isn’t done yet, there is still a lot more work and tests to be done on this product, but it is a very intriguing step into the future,” Baltz said. “There is no real timetable for this work, whenever my fellow engineers and I are done running the tests and are comfortable with our product we will send it to market.”

Baltz was introduced by Dr. Kenneth Pidcock, Wilkes University’s associate professor and Chair in biology. Baltz is chief scientific officer at CognoGen Biotechnology Consulting.

Nick Wierman, a junior environmental science major went to the presentation to learn about this new fascinating accomplishment in science.

“From what I gathered, which wasn’t that much is that this could potentially be an antibiotic that could replace other more harmful drugs on the market,” Wierman said. “Richard H. Baltz is one of the leading men in this field so it would have been dumb for me not to go and see him speak, even though I didn’t understand that much of it.”