The mission of the Bacterial Epidemiology and Antimicrobial Resistance Unit is to study antimicrobial resistance in zoonotic food borne pathogens and commensal bacteria. Epidemiology, microbiology, risk factor analysis, and molecular techniques are used to 1) gain an understanding of the prevalence of resistance among food borne pathogens and factors which may affect the development and persistence of resistance in production facilities and in the environment, 2) study the molecular mechanisms that are associated with the development of resistance, and 3) define the role of commensal bacteria in the development and transfer of resistance. The veterinary arm of the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System - Enteric Bacteria (NARMS) is also located in our Unit. This program is a multi-agency endeavor involving scientists from the USDA - Agricultural Research Service, USDA - Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA - Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, FDA - Center for Veterinary Medicine, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The goal of the program is to track the development of antimicrobial resistance in veterinary isolates as it arises and disseminate the information to all stakeholders in an attempt to arrest the development and spread of resistance, especially among food borne pathogens. The results generated by these endeavors will enhance our knowledge of antimicrobial resistance and provide the scientific data that is critically needed to direct research among the scientific community and to develop policy in a number of agencies, including the USDA and FDA.