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Research interests

I lead a research group studying antibiotic resistance (ABR) in bacteria. We use molecular genetics, biochemistry and functional genomics techniques to identify and characterise ABR mechanisms in key human pathogens, their mobilisation, and their control. We then use this information to combat the problem of ABR by developing interdisciplinary research collaborations. 

Our current basic work aims to characterize multi-drug resistance mechanisms in non-fermenting Gram-negative bacteria, particularly Stenotrophomonas maltophilia and in the Enterobacterales, particularly Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae. We have studied mechanisms of β-lactam and β-lactam/β-lactamase inhibitor resistance (e.g. Dulyayangkul et al., (2020a) Antimicrob Agents Chemother; Dulyayangkul et al., (2020b) Antimicrob Agents Chemother; Calvopiña et al., (2020) Molecular Microbiology; Takebayashi et al., (2021) J Antimicrob Chemother; Alzayn et al., (2021) Antimicrob Agents Chemother; Satapoomin et al., (2022) Antimicrob Agents Chemother)aminoglycoside resistance (e.g. Calvopiña et al., (2020) Antimicrob Agents Chemother; Dulyayangkul et al., (2021) Front Microbiol), polymyxin resistance (e.g. Cheung et al., (2020) Antimicrob Agents Chemother) and fluoroquinolone resistance (e.g. Dulyayangkul et al., (2020c) Antimicrob Agents Chemother).

We have collaborated with chemists and structural biologists to develop β-lactamase inhibitors (e.g. Brem et al., (2014) Nature Chemistry; Brem et al., (2016) Nature Communications; Brem et al., (2022) Nature Chemistry).

We are pioneering the use of proteomics to improve the ability of whole genome sequencing to predict ABR (e.g. Wan Nur Ismah et al., (2018) Antimicrob Agents Chemother). We have helped investigate the potential for sensing ABR via volotile profiling (e.g. Smart et al., (2019) J Pharm Biomed Anal; Hewett et al., (2020) Antibiotics; Drabinska et al., (2021) Adv Med Sci). We are also involved in a project led by Physicist Dr Massimo Antognozzi (University of Bristol) to develop novel sensors that can rapidly test for ABR in clinical samples. This project received a global Longitude Prize Discovery Award and has spun out a company, Vitamica Ltd. 

I lead the One Health Selection and Transmission of Antimicrobial Resistance (OH-STAR) consortium. Working with Drs Philip Williams and Martin Williams (University Hospitals Bristol & Weston NHS Foundation Trust) and Prof Alasdair MacGowan and Drs Maha Albur, Fraces Edwards and Fergus Hamilton (North Bristol NHS Trust), we are using whole genome sequencing to survey urinary E. coli and all Gram-negatives from bloodstream infection (e.g. Findlay et al., (2020) J Antimicrob Chemother). Our aims include monitoring ecological shifts resulting from local antibiotic prescribing policy changes, reducing uncertainty in phenotypic susceptibility testing, informing empiric prescribing for bloodstream and urinary tract infection and IV/oral switch for sepsis. We are also working to understand the transmission and selection of ABR in healthcare settings (e.g. Cheung et al., (2021) Antimicrob Agents Chemother). Working with Prof Alastair Hay and Dr Ashley Hammond (Population Health Sciences) we aim to identify how changes in antibiotic prescribing practice in primary care can be used to alter the prevalence of ABR infections in humans (e.g. Hammond et al., (2020) PLOS One). Working with Prof Kristen Reyher (Bristol Vet School), we have defined the environmental and management factors that influence acquisition and selection of ABR bacteria in cattle (e.g. Schubert et al., (2021) Appl Environ Microbiol; Turner et al., (2022) J Appl Microbiol), in dogs (e.g. Mounsey et al., (2022) One Health; Sealey et al., (2022) J Antimicrob Chemother) and in zoo animals.  We continue to investigate whether ABR bacteria from these animals impact on ABR infections in humans (e.g. Alzayn et al., (2020) J Antimicrob Chemother; Findlay et al., (2020) Appl Environ Microbiol; Mounsey et al., (2021) J Antimicrob Chemother)

I lead the One Health Drivers of Antibacterial Resistance in Thailand (OH-DART) consortium. Working with colleagues at the Universities of Exeter and Bath, Mahidol University, Chulabhorn Research Institute and the UK Center for Ecology and Hydrology, our aim is to define and prioritise the drivers of ABR in humans in the community in Thailand taking a multi-disciplinary approach. So far, we have modelled the impact of the current Thai 5-year national plan on ABR reduction (Booton et al., (2021) One Health). 

I also contribute to the FARMS-SAFE consortium, led by Prof Kristen Reyher, to work alongside colleagues at the University of La Plata to survey ABR and antibiotic usage and identify the drivers of ABR in Argentinian Pig and Dairy farming systems. Finally, we are part of the Arwain DGC consortium, where our role is to use molecular ecology to survey ABR on Beef, Sheep and Dairy farms across Wales.

I am PI and Academic Lead for the Medical Research Foundation-funded National PhD Training Programme in Antimicrobial Resistance Research, which provides 30 fully-funded 4-year, interdisciplinary PhD studentships and cohort building and knowledge exchange events for more than 200 additional PhD students working on ABR-related projects from all disciplines and all UK institutions.

Current Grant Funding

  • 09/21-07/23: Welsh Government Consortium Grant
  • 01/20-01/23: MRC CARP Award
  • 08/19-04/24: BBSRC/DoHSC Consortium Grant
  • 10/17-02/24: Medical Research Foundation DTP

Research Team

  • Beth Astley - MSci Student
  • Hikmat Balogun-Abiola, BSc (Olabisi Onabanjo), MSc (FUA, Abeokuta) - Visting PhD Student
  • Frances Edwards, BMedSc, MBChB (Birmingham) DipTM&H (LSHTM) - Academic Clinical Research Fellow
  • Winnie Lee, BSc (Herts), MRes (Imperial) - PhD Student
  • Beatriz Llamazares, BVSc (Leon), MSc (Copenhagen), MRCVS - PhD Student
  • Lisa Moiseinko, BSc, MSc (Kyiv) - Technician
  • Olly Mounsey, BSc, MRes, PhD (Bristol) - Research Associate
  • Peechanika Pinweha, BSc, MSc (Mahidol) - PhD Student
  • Carlos Reding Roman, BSc (Malaga), PhD (Exeter) - Senior Research Associate
  • Naphat Satapoomin, BSc (Newcastle) - PhD Student
  • Jordan Sealey, BSc (Oxford Brooks), MSc (LSTM), PhD (Bristol) - Research Associate
  • Katie Sealey, BSc, MRes (Kingston), MSc (QMUL), PhD (Bath) - Research Associate
  • Emily Syvret, BSc (Exeter) - MRes Student
  • Will Miller, BSc (Bristol) - MRes Student

Project Management Team

  • Dr Claire Spreadbury - AMR PhD Programme Manager (MRF Funded)
  • Pei-Si Hayes - AMR PhD Programme Deputy Manager (MRF Funded)
  • Dr Marco Ramirez - FARMS-SAFE Project Manager (BBSRC/DoHSC Funded)

Collaborators

  • Prof Jim Spencer (CMM)
  • Dr Kate Heesom (Bristol Proteomics Facility)
  • Prof Kristen Reyher, MRCVS (Bristol Vet School)
  • Prof David Barrett, FRCVS (Bristol Vet School)
  • Prof Andrew Dowsey (Bristol Vet School)
  • Prof Alastair Hay, MRCGP (Bristol Medical School)
  • Prof Helen Lambert (Bristol Medical School)
  • Dr Ashley Hammond (Bristol Medical School)
  • Dr Massimo Antognozzi (Physics)
  • Prof Alasdair MacGowan FRCPath (Southmead Hospital)
  • Dr Martin Williams FRCPath (Bristol Royal Infirmary)
  • Dr Philip Williams FRCPath (Bristol Royal Infirmary)
  • Dr Maha Albur FRCPath (Southmead Hospital)
  • Dr Fergus Hamilton (Southmead Hospital)
  • Prof Skorn Mongkolsuk (Chulabhorn Research Institute)
  • Dr Jutamaad Satayavivad (Chulabhorn Research Institute)
  • Prof Visanu Thamlikitkul (Siriraj Hospital, Bangkok)
  • Dr Walasinee Sakcamduan (Mahidol University)
  • Dr Luechai Sringernyuang (Mahidol University)
  • Dr Aronrag Meeyai (University of Oxford)
  • Prof Henry Buller (University of Exeter)
  • Dr Emma Pitchforth (University of Exeter)
  • Dr Andrew Singer (UK Center for Ecology & Hydrology)
  • Prof Ed Feil (University of Bath)
  • Prof Luzbel de la Sota (University of La Plata)
  • Dr Nora Mestorino (University of La Pata)

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