Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Biology Network
We address fundamental questions about infection biology - how pathogens are acquired, transmitted and evolve in an era of increasingly mobile human population, drug dependency and antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
Infectious diseases have fundamental impacts on human health, farming, conservation, and are cross-cutting priorities for research funding. Infection ecology has considerable relevance to bio- and agro-terrorism, epidemic control strategies, and disease emergence and resistance. The scope and arena of our research includes and goes beyond clinical medicine, and provides a strong interdisciplinary basis to tackle food security and multiple global challenges.
Antimicrobial resistance and the development of novel strategies to overcome resistant infections are global health priorities – and AMR expertise is embedded within the network. The emergence of multidrug resistant superbugs and agricultural pests has left no options for treatment of certain infections. Combating AMR is a global priority backed by the UK and international governments, public health bodies, research councils, the industrial sector and the World Health Organisation.
AMR infections urgently require novel therapeutics and preventative strategies. Our researchers are pursuing interdisciplinary research developing novel anti-infectives and disease control strategies. This spans a wide range of industrial, charity, and governmental initiatives.
Researchers within the Microbiomes, Microbes and Informatics group (MMI) at Cardiff University's School of Biosciences have played a key role in developing this network. The network has a leadership team headed by Professors Eshwar Mahenthiralingam and Jo Cable (Biosciences and MMI), who work with Professors Ian Humphreys (Medicine), David Williams (Dentistry) and Jean-Yves Maillard (Pharmacy) to organise and steer network initiatives.
We work with multiple other networks and research institutes across Cardiff University including: The Systems Immunity Research Institute, the Water Research Institute, and the Medicines Discovery Institute. We also have strong links with the Cardiff Institute for Tissue Engineering and Repair (CITER), as well as working closely with Public Health Wales Microbiology units at Cardiff University and across Wales.
Cardiff University has interdisciplinary strengths in micro- and macro-parasitic infections and antimicrobial resistance. The Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Biology Network:
- provides a research platform for exploiting interdisciplinary expertise in infection and antimicrobial resistance
- fosters early career researcher and fellowship training in AMR, antibiotic discovery and infection biology
- delivers translational impact via engagement with the health and regulatory agencies, industry and the public, on AMR and global infections.
We undertake research in three broad areas.
Multiple investigators are examining the global threat of AMR bacterial, fungal and parasitic pathogens, with research on:
- diagnosis and surveillance of priority resistant pathogens using genomic and next-generation approaches
- drug evaluation and understanding resistance mechanisms
- the impact of the microbiome on antibiotic resistance
- microbial biofilms in a range of clinical and environmental settings.
Key areas of infection biology being investigated within the network include:
- the pathogenesis of key viral, bacterial, fungal and parasitic diseases in humans and animals
- host inflammation and the immune response to microbial infections
- the interaction of the wider microbiome and pathogen co-infection as drivers of disease
- sepsis and acute infections in the young and old
- understanding wider population health and key drivers of infection and resistance in the public
- alternate models of infection
- modelling infection networks and ecology in the natural environment
- infection and disease transmission in underdeveloped nations such as Namibia, as well as India, South East Asia and China.
Antibiotic and anti-infective discovery
Multiple interdisciplinary strategies are being pursued by our researchers to combat AMR by:
- the discovery of novel antibiotics and natural products to treat infection
- improving infection control and disinfection approaches
- using polymer technologies to disrupt microbial biofilms
- developing novel antivirals, preservatives and biocidal formulations
- manipulating host responses and the immune system to prevent disease
- developing nanotechnology and biomaterials that are resistant to infection.
Examples of projects within the Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Biology Network include:
International antimicrobial resistance and infection
At the School of Medicine, Timothy Walsh OBE and colleagues are working to build multiple international initiatives on antimicrobial resistance in Nigeria, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and China. Researchers are also working within the Phoenix Project to understand infection and AMR within Namibia and other African nations.
Ecology of infectious diseases
Jo Cable, Sarah Perkins and Jo Lello have multiple projects examining co-infection and multiple parasitic diseases. These are hosted in the Cardiff Research in Infection and Parasites in Ecological Systems (CRIPES) group.
Enteric bacterial infections and antimicrobial resistance
Cedric Berger, Thomas Connor and Timothy Walsh have extensive experience in understanding disease and tracking resistance in a range of diarrheal and Gram-negative enteric pathogens. Thomas Connor is also working with Public Health Wales to deliver genomics-driven diagnosis of infections.
Combating antimicrobial resistant lung infections in people with cystic fibrosis
Eshwar Mahenthiralingam and David Thomas have multiple projects examining pathogens and developing treatments for cystic fibrosis lung infections.
Understanding, treating and disinfecting microbial biofilms
David Williams has expertise in dental and urinary tract biofilms, and Jean-Yves Maillard works with multiple industrial stakeholders to develop and test infection control strategies to eliminate microbial biofilms.
Viral pathogenesis and the immune system
Ian Humphreys and other researchers within the Systems Immunity University Research Institute have several projects examining the interaction of virus such as the human cytomegalovirus with the immune system.
Meet the team
Our research makes a difference to people’s lives as we work across disciplines to tackle major challenges facing society, the economy and our environment.
Our research degrees give the opportunity to investigate a specific topic in depth among field-leading researchers.