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.

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