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2 Nov 2015

Loughborough secures funding to help fight the global health threat of antimicrobial resistance

Researchers at Loughborough University have secured £545,000 to help tackle growing resistance to antibiotics.

Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) occurs when microbes (harmful bacteria) develop a defence against the drugs which are designed to kill them.

The majority of the world’s pathogenic bacteria have now developed some level of resistance to antibiotics used to treat them, and medical professionals are therefore using last resort drugs.

Integrated intervention approaches, including developing new treatments, targeted drug delivery, rapid diagnostics, and environmental decontamination strategies, combined with better understanding of the human and social dimensions of the AMR problem are desperately needed.

Loughborough’s interdisciplinary project brings together experts from chemical engineering, sport and health sciences, chemistry, maths, and mechanical and manufacturing engineering. 

The funding will be used to improve the understanding of AMR across the University and beyond, and to identify opportunities and facilitate interdisciplinary research projects to help tackle this global health threat.

Specifically, the Loughborough network will try to understand and explore mitigation strategies that relate to how the environment and human behaviour in community and healthcare settings enables the spread of resistance genes, and the acquisition and transmission of antimicrobial resistant infectious agents.

Scientists will interact with clinical and industry partners through a series of workshops, lectures and networking events to share knowledge and bring together experts to address the AMR challenge.

Project lead Dr Danish Malik, a senior lecturer in Chemical Engineering, said:  

“We have many academics here at Loughborough whose expertise and technologies could be used to address AMR. This funding will allow us to bring those experts together, and link with specialists outside the University, to raise awareness of the challenge of AMR and explore collaborative research opportunities to help tackle the issue.

“Potentially we may soon be at a point globally where we run out of antibiotics. By working together we hope to make new discoveries to prevent this happening.”

A project launch event is being held at the Loughborough University Conference Centre, Burleigh Court on Monday 7 December from 9am. Invited guest speakers include Professor Robert Root-Bernstein (Michigan State University and author of Discovering: Inventing and Solving Problems at the Frontiers of Scientific Knowledge) and Dr Nina Chanishvili (Eliava Institute and a leading figure in Bacteriophage therapeutics research). Attendees need to register online.

The grant Tackling Antimicrobial Resistance: An Interdisciplinary Approach has been awarded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

The funding will enable Loughborough to become a centre of excellence in AMR research.

Notes for editors

Article reference number: PR 15/203

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Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent 
QS Stars university rating scheme, putting it among the best universities in the world, and was named University of the Year in the What Uni Student Choice Awards 2015.Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and is in the top 10 in England for research intensity. It was 2nd in the 2015 THE Student Experience Survey and was named Sports University of the Year 2013-14 by The Times and Sunday Times. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

In September 2015 the University opened an additional academic campus in London’s new innovation quarter. 
Loughborough University London, based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities.

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