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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).

Infection biology

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

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.

Antimicrobial discovery

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.

Leadership

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.

Collaborations

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.

Aims

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.

Antimicrobial resistance

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.

Infection biology

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.

Lead researcher

Professor Eshwar Mahenthiralingam

Professor Eshwar Mahenthiralingam

Co-Director of Research

Email
mahenthiralingame@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 (0)29 2087 5875

Academic staff

Professor Jo Cable

Professor Jo Cable

Professor, Masters Lead

Email
cablej@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 (0)29 2087 6022
Professor Ian Humphreys

Professor Ian Humphreys

Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow. Infection Lead, Division of Infection and Immunity and Persistent and Resistant Infections Theme Lead, Systems Immunity Research Institute

Email
humphreysir@cardiff.ac.uk
Professor David Williams

Professor David Williams

Theme Lead for Oral and Biomedical Sciences, Professor of Oral Microbiology, School of Dentistry

Email
williamsdd@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 29207 42548
Professor Jean-Yves Maillard

Professor Jean-Yves Maillard

Professor of Pharmaceutical Microbiology

Email
maillardj@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 (0)29 2087 9088