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Evolution and Mechanisms

Evolution and Mechanisms

The United Nations has recognised that tackling the spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in the environment is one of the world's greatest emerging environmental concerns.

At Exeter, we explore the evolution of AMR to understand and potentially delay this process. We aim to establish a blueprint for how to best manage AMR in clinical and environmental settings. Currently, resistant bacteria are released into the natural environment through the contamination of streams, rivers, seawater and soil. The environment is impacted by antimicrobials and AMR organisms through animal waste on farms and through sewage-treatment-plant effluent. Exeter’s research focuses on new ways to break this damaging cycle.

We also study the evolution of resistance in clinical pathogens and in complex microbial communities found in human and animal microbiomes. Many fungal pathogens are also ubiquitous and are developing resistance to frontline clinical antifungal drugs via environmental selection, especially from antifungals routinely sprayed on a variety of crops. The molecular and evolutionary pathways explaining the emerging antifungal resistance need exploring. We aim to increase insight in those mechanisms to find targets to intervene.

Evolution and Mechanisms - primary investigators

Professor William Gaze Professor of Microbiology Environment, policy, microbiome, evolution ecology, public health, agriculture, evidence
Professor Robert Beardmore Professor of Mathematical Biosciences Mathematical modelling, evolutionary datasets, antibiotic resistance
Dr Lihong Zhang Research Fellow  Antibiotic resistance, molecular microbiology, environmental microbiology, medical microbiology, microbial ecology
Professor Angus Buckling Professor of Evolutionary Biology  Evolutionary ecology, antimicrobial resistance
Dr Michiel Vos Senior Lecturer Microbiology, evolutionary ecology, population genomics, bacterial genome evolution, ecology of antibiotic resistance and virulence genes
Professor Neil Gow Professor of Microbiology Antifungal resistance, Candida auris, antifungal drug transit, drug resistance mechanisms, echinocandins, antifungal drugs, antifungal therapies
Professor Adilla Warris Professor in Paediatric Infectious Diseases and Deputy Director MRC Centre for Medical Mycology Antifungal resistance, azole-resistant Aspergillus fumigatus, evolution, clinical implications
Professor Al Brown Deputy Director MRC Centre for Medical Mycology Antifungal resistance, evolution
Professor Edze Westra Professor / NERC Independent Research Fellow Ecological variables, evolution, immune strategies, bacteria, phage, CRISPR
Dr Stineke Van Houte BBSRC Future Leadership Fellow CRISPR-Cas, bacteria-phage interactions, AMR plasmid spread in microbial communities
Professor Stuart Townley Professor in Applied Mathematics Systems modelling, analysis and management
Dr Aimee Murray Lecturer Culturing, molecular methods (qPCR, cloning, functional metagenomics), next-generation sequencing, metagenome analyses, evolution experiments
Dr Ben Raymond Associate Professor Experimental evolutionary ecology, insects, plants, bacterial pathogens and symbionts, virulence and resistance, parasites, symbionts, Bacillus thruringiensis and resistance to antibiotics
Dr Rhys Farrer Lecturer in Bioinformatics at MRC Centre for Medical Mycology Genome sequencing, hospital outbreak strains, C. auris, C. neoformans, C. gattii, environmental sequencing, variant discovery in antifungal targets, ERG11, tool/database development of drug resistance alleles, MARDy
Dr Alan Brown Senior Lecturer in Molecular Microbiology Molecular bacteriology, niche adaptation and antimicrobial resistance, host-pathogen interactions, immunotherapy
Professor Ivana Gudelj

Professor of Evolutionary Systems Biology

Mathematical modelling, multi-species communities, evolution, antifungals

Dr Steven Porter

Senior Lecturer in Biochemistry Bacterial signal transduction, novel antimicrobial development, kinase inhibitors, sensor kinase, protein biochemistry, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Burkholderia pseudomallei

Professor Sarah Gurr

 Chair in Food Security Antifungals, fungicide resistance, evolution, global movement and stewardship of antifungals

Dr Phil Mitchelmore

Clinical Lecturer in Respiratory Medicine Bronchiectasis, Cystic Fibrosis, lung disease, cross-infection, microbiome, antimicrobial resistance

Dr Remy Chait

Lecturer Technology development, bioscience