LSTM was among the first institutions to recognise the importance of studying and understanding the phenomenon of drug resistance. Pioneers such as Professor Warrington Yorke, the first Walter Myers Chair of Parasitology, established in 1929 an in vitro cultivation of drug resistant trypanosomes in order to understand how new drugs work.
Many factors drive resistance, and in recognition of this LSTM has developed an interdisciplinary approach involving the entire research continuum from bench, to clinical care, to public health and policy. This involves specialist teams of laboratory scientists, engineers, mathematical modellers, clinicians, public health specialists and social scientists working together within and across traditional disciplinary boundaries.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a globally important issue which is increasingly compromising human health. It occurs when microorganisms (bacteria, fungi and protozoans) gain the ability to grow in the presence of one or more compounds (antibiotics, antiseptics and antimicrobials) that are supposed to either kill them, or prevent their growth.
Resistance is present in every country and antimicrobial resistant microorganisms do not respect international borders. New resistance mechanisms emerge and rapidly spread across the globe leading to increased morbidity and mortality. The effects of AMR are predicted to be felt more in LMICs. Furthermore; modern medicine is underpinned by the prophylactic use of antibiotics. Without them treatments for cancer, operations, organ transplants, child birth, etc. will become increasing dangerous.
AMR is now firmly on the national and international political agendas, being discussed recently at the United Nations General Assembly in a High-Level meeting. This was only the fourth time in the history of the UN that a health topic has been discussed at the General Assembly (the other were; HIV, noncommunicable diseases, and Ebola)
Solutions to problems from antimicrobial resistance do not lie in a single field of science. To tackle them, multiple and complementary research approaches are needed; with understanding required from the molecular to the societal level. Our translational research projects span this entire spectrum of activity.
Biology of Resistance
Mechanisms of antimicrobial resistance are extremely varied and the genes responsible for resistance are often transferable from one organism to another, especially among the bacteria. This presents huge clinical challenges which we are addressing by determining the mechanisms of resistance, transfer and stability in pathogens from across the planet using molecular biology and evolutionary biology techniques. This will enable us to lower the possibility of resistance emergence, spread and persistence within bacterial populations, both during and after treatment.