Investigating selection for antimicrobial resistance by non-antibiotic drugs in freshwater microbial communities

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


The first paper showing non-antibiotic drugs (NADs) can select for antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in human gut-associated strains has just been published, raising concerns for selection for AMR in vivo. However, NADs are also discharged into freshwater environments from waste water treatment plants, alongside antibiotics and other antimicrobial compounds. How these multiple pressures may interact to select for AMR in freshwater environments and how they impact microbial diversity is a completely novel research area, with the potential to influence policy at an international level and improve fundamental understanding of AMR evolution and aquatic microbial ecology. The student will master several microbiological techniques, including classical culturing methods and molecular approaches such as PCR, qPCR, knockout mutant generation and cloning. Computer coding and bioinformatics skills will be developed, enabling interrogation of next-generation sequencing data and design of automated pipelines. Students will gain experience in analytical chemistry and engaging with a range of stakeholders from the pharmaceutical and waste water industries, as well as policy makers and regulators.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
NE/R011524/1 01/10/2018 30/09/2024
2270322 Studentship NE/R011524/1 01/10/2019 31/10/2023 April Hayes