Supervisors: Prof David Smith and Prof Tom Evans
Ameliorating the increasing threat of resistance of bacteria to frontline antibiotics is of increasing concern and adjuncts, alternatives and/or additional options for controlling resistance have become an international imperative. Improved understanding of antibiotic-resistant (AbxR) bacteria is required in order to identify characteristics of resistant bacteria associated with both resistance and virulence.
Among the bacteria identified as major concerns are Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae carrying ESBL (extended spectrum β-lactamase) or carbapenemase (collectively ESBL/C) determinants and which have emerged as major challenges in both healthcare-associated and community-acquired settings. Also of note, these features are often associated with resistance to multiple antibiotics thus limiting options for severe infections including UTIs, sepsis, meningitis and pneumonia.
In this project, genotypic and phenotypic approaches will be combined to address the following key questions:
1. Are ESBL/C strains typified by AbxR elements solely or are other genomic features shared?
2. Is “pathogenicity” an artefact of resistance or are there specific pathogenicity factors common to ESBL/C?
3. Does carriage of AbxR have wider implications for physiology/fitness ESBL/C?
By addressing these questions, this project is expected to define potential candidates to offer options for detection, monitoring and targeting AbxR bacteria, in particular ESBL/C E. coli and Klebsiella.