Outside to inside: The relationship of eukaryotic homologues of serine-threonine kinase signalling in bacterial pathogens to antibiotic resistance.

Lead Research Organisation: University of Warwick
Department Name: Warwick Medical School


Programme overview:
This MRC-funded doctoral training partnership (DTP) brings together cutting-edge molecular and analytical sciences with innovative computational approaches in data analysis to enable students to address hypothesis-led biomedical research questions. This is a 4-year programme whose first year involves a series of taught modules and two laboratory-based research projects that lead to an MSc in Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research. The first two terms consist of a selection of taught modules that allow students to gain a solid grounding in multidisciplinary science. Students also attend a series of masterclasses led by academic and industry experts in areas of molecular, cellular and tissue dynamics, microbiology and infection, applied biomedical technologies and artificial intelligence and data science. During the third and summer terms students conduct two eleven-week research projects in labs of their choice.

Antimicrobial drug resistance (AMR) is a growing threat to public health worldwide, and is a complex socioeconomic and scientific problem. Despite the clear social need for the development of novel antimicrobials, investment in this sector has declined due to a number of financial and commercial factors and remains far below the level required to keep pace with newly emerging forms of resistance. Therefore, antimicrobial drug development and target discovery is increasingly becoming the role of academia and smaller biotech companies. To control the AMR crisis, new methods, knowledge and trained specialists dedicated to antimicrobial research are required.
Our research involves studying Enterococci, a group of bacteria that form part of our normal gut flora yet can cause opportunistic infections following surgery. Enterococci are resistant to two important classes of antibacterial drugs, and our research has shown that there is a protein that links the two types of resistance. When this protein is removed, chemically or genetically, the bacteria are no longer resistant to both antibacterial drug types. With further research, we may be able to discover novel drugs that will knock out this protein, allowing older antibiotics to be once again effective. We also need to explore if this observation can be extended to other bacterial pathogens including Clostridium difficile (C. diff); a species which causes severe disease in elderly and immunosuppressed patients and is a great burden on healthcare systems world-wide.


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Description Antibacterial resistance awareness bake sale 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Using the bake sale to raise awareness of the problems caused by antimicrobial resistance. Trying to inform students why resistance has occurred and what they can do to help the problem. The money raised went to Antibiotic Research UK.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018,2019