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Dr Aimee Murray

Dr Aimee Murray

Senior Lecturer

 01326 259016

 Environment and Sustainability Institute 1.14


Environment and Sustainability Institute, University of Exeter, Penryn Campus, Penryn, Cornwall, TR10 9FE, UK


Dr Aimee Murray is a Senior Lecturer of Microbiology researching the evolution and ecology of antimicrobial resistance, particularly in the environment. Using interdisciplinary approaches spanning microbiology, ecotoxicology and environmental risk assessment, Aimee's research has real world impact on the protection of human health and the environment.

Through a longstanding collaboration with industrial partner AstraZeneca and contacts at Defra and the Environment Agency, Aimee's research on minimal selective concentrations of antibiotics is of interest to policy makers and industry at the national and international level. She has presented her research to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Antibiotics alongside University of Exeter colleagues with the aim to generate amendments to the Environment Bill. Her research was reviewed during the prioritisation process to include antibiotics and antimicrobial resistance in the EU Commission's Water Framework Directive Watch List. She has also been consulted by the United Nations Environment Programme as an expert on environmental risk assessment of antimicrobial resistance. Authored and co-authored papers have been cited by the UK Government, Environment Agency, Joint Programming Initiative on AMR, Food and Agricultural Organisation, World Health Organisation, and the United Nations Environment Programme. She is currently an elected Ordinary Member and trustee for the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (BSAC).

Aimee is based in Cornwall at the Environment & Sustainbility Institue and European Centre for Environment and Human Health, Penryn.


  • Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy 2020
  • ASPIRE Associate Fellowship, 2019
  • PhD Medical Sciences, University of Exeter 2017
  • BSc Biology, 1st Class Hons, University of Bath 2013


Aimee was awarded the Eliahou Dangoor Scholarship and Leonard Broadbent Prize at the University of Bath, where she graduated with 1st Class Honours in 2013.

Aimee joined the European Centre for Environment in Human Health (ECEHH) in 2013 to undertake her BBSRC/ AstraZeneca CASE funded PhD studies.

Following the award of her PhD, Aimee secured a NERC Industrial Innovation Research Fellowship to develop the an assay which can generate data on selection for antimicrobial resistance and be used for environmental risk assessment.

She commenced her lectureship at the University of Exeter summer 2021 and has since secured a NERC New Investigator grant. She was promoted to Senior Lecturer at the beginning of 2023. 

Research group links

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Research interests

  • Evolution and selection of antimicrobial resistance at low concentrations of antimicrobials
  • Environmental risk assessment of antimicrobial resistance
  • Co-selection for antimicrobial resistance by biocides, pharmaceuticals and plant protection products
  • Antimicrobial resistance and microplastics

Research projects

Current projects

  • Exploring understudied aspects of AMR evolution to improve environmental pollution policy (NERC New Investigator)
  • BlueAdapt (Horizons Europe)
  • Developing a conceptual framework to improve understanding of AMR in livestock systems: translating research into policy and practice (BBSRC UK-Argentina Joint call on AMR)
  • Investigating selection for antimicrobial resistance by non-antibiotic drugs in freshwater microbial communities (NERC FRESH CDT/AstraZeneca PhD)
  • Investigating selection and co-selection for antimicrobial resistance by plant protection products and other contaminants of concern (BBSRC/AstraZeneca CTP PhD)
  • Microplastics as vectors of antimicrobial resistance in aquatic systems (Exeter/PML/Philanthropic PhD)
  • Potential co-selection for antimicrobial resistance by biocides used in shale gas extraction (NBAF Pilot grant)

Previous projects

  • Development and validation of the first environmental risk assessment tool to protect against selection for antimicrobial resistance in situ (NERC Industrial Innovation Fellowship)
  • Understanding agricultural azole use, impacts on local water bodies and AMR: building an interdisciplinary evidence base in Devon and Bristol (Cabot Institute)
  • Environment Agency consultancy and contract research on minimal selctive concentrations of antibiotics, antifungals and biocides. 
  • Raising awareness and understanding of antimicrobial resistance in Key Stage 4 Cornish students (Royal Society of Biology)
  • Hotspots for selection of and transmission of antibiotic resistance in the terrestrial environment (NERC, University of York)
  • Exploring antibiotic use practices in livestock production through a novel, game-based approach; GAMR (GW4 AMR Crucible)
  • Scoping review into environmental selection for antifungal resistance and testing methodology (Environment Agency)

Research networks

  • Microbes and Society Network member
  • GW4 AMR Network member
  • PHSS EDI representative
  • Previously Water Security Alliance Board Member
  • Previously ECEHH ECR rep

Research grants

  • 2022 NERC New Investigator Grant
    Exploring understudied aspects of AMR evolution to improve environmental pollution policy
  • 2022 Environment Agency
    Development of experimental approaches for determining selection concentrations for antifungals
  • 2019 NERC
    Investigating selection for antimicrobial resistance by non-antibiotic drugs in freshwater microbial communities
  • 2019 BBSRC PhD Studentship
    Investigating selection and co-selection for antimicrobial resistance by pharmaceuticals and other contaminants of concern
  • 2019 Royal Society of Biology
    Raising awareness of antimicrobial resistance and One Health in Cornish Key Stage 4 students
  • 2019 BBSRC
    BBSRC UK-Argentina Joint Call on AMR
  • 2018 QUEX Accelerator
    QUEX Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Alliance: A new approach to AMR surveillance
  • 2017 NERC Industrial
    Development and validation of the first environmental risk assessment tool to protect against selection for antimicrobial resistance in situ

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Journal articles

Stevenson E, Cole M, Lindeque P, Buckling A, Murray AK (In Press). Culturing the Plastisphere: comparing methods to isolate culturable bacteria colonising microplastics. Frontiers in Microbiology
Clarke LM, O’Brien JW, Murray AK, Gaze WH, Thomas KV (2024). A review of wastewater-based epidemiology for antimicrobial resistance surveillance. Journal of Environmental Exposure Assessment, 3(1), null-null.
Murray AK, Stanton I, Gaze WH, Snape J (2024). Corrigendum to < Dawning of a new ERA: Environmental Risk Assessment of antibiotics and their potential to select for antimicrobial resistance’> <[Water Research 200 (2021) 117–233]> (Water Research (2021) 200, (S0043135421004310), (10.1016/j.watres.2021.117233)). Water Research, 257 Abstract.
Stevenson EM, Buckling A, Cole M, Lindeque PK, Murray AK (2024). Selection for antimicrobial resistance in the plastisphere. Sci Total Environ, 908 Abstract.  Author URL.
Manaia CM, Aga DS, Cytryn E, Gaze WH, Graham DW, Guo J, Leonard AFC, Li L, Murray AK, Nunes OC, et al (2024). The Complex Interplay Between Antibiotic Resistance and Pharmaceutical and Personal Care Products in the Environment. Environ Toxicol Chem, 43(3), 637-652. Abstract.  Author URL.
Jones ML, Barnish MS, Hughes RR, Murray AK, Mansour O, Loni T, Vickery HM, Evans ML, Green L, Verdezoto N, et al (2023). Exploring the potential of using simulation games for engaging with sheep farmers about lameness recognition. Front Vet Sci, 10 Abstract.  Author URL.
Murray AK, Zhang L, Snape J, Gaze WH (2023). Functional metagenomic libraries generated from anthropogenically impacted environments reveal importance of metabolic genes in biocide and antibiotic resistance. Current Research in Microbial Sciences, 4, 100184-100184.
Stevenson EM, Gaze WH, Gow NAR, Hart A, Schmidt W, Usher J, Warris A, Wilkinson H, Murray AK (2022). Antifungal Exposure and Resistance Development: Defining Minimal Selective Antifungal Concentrations and Testing Methodologies. Frontiers in Fungal Biology, 3
Stanton IC, Tipper HJ, Chau K, Klümper U, Subirats J, Murray AK (2022). Does Environmental Exposure to Pharmaceutical and Personal Care Product Residues Result in the Selection of Antimicrobial‐Resistant Microorganisms, and is this Important in Terms of Human Health Outcomes?. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 43(3), 623-636. Abstract.
Wang Y, Yu Z, Ding P, Lu J, Klümper U, Murray AK, Gaze WH, Guo J (2022). Non-antibiotic pharmaceuticals promote conjugative plasmid transfer at a community-wide level. Microbiome, 10(1). Abstract.  Author URL.
Hayes A, May Murray L, Catherine Stanton I, Zhang L, Snape J, Hugo Gaze W, Kaye Murray A (2022). Predicting selection for antimicrobial resistance in UK wastewater and aquatic environments: Ciprofloxacin poses a significant risk. Environ Int, 169 Abstract.  Author URL.
Murray AK, Stanton I, Gaze WH, Snape J (2021). Dawning of a new ERA: Environmental Risk Assessment of antibiotics and their potential to select for antimicrobial resistance. Water Res, 200 Abstract.  Author URL.
Stanton IC, Murray AK, Zhang L, Snape J, Gaze WH (2020). Evolution of antibiotic resistance at low antibiotic concentrations including selection below the minimal selective concentration. Commun Biol, 3(1). Abstract.  Author URL.
Hayes A, Feil E, Kasprzyk-Horden B, Snape J, Zhang L, Gaze W, Murray A (2020). Investigating selection for antimicrobial resistance by non-antibiotic drugs (NADs). Access Microbiology, 2(7A).
Murray AK (2020). The Novel Coronavirus COVID-19 Outbreak: Global Implications for Antimicrobial Resistance. Frontiers in Microbiology, 11
Murray L, Boxall A, Snape J, Gaze W, Murray A (2020). The selection and co-selection of antimicrobial resistance by non-antibiotic drugs and plant protection products. Access Microbiology, 2(7A).
Murray AK, Stanton IC, Wright J, Zhang L, Snape J, Gaze WH (2020). The ‘SELection end points in Communities of bacTeria’ (SELECT) Method: a Novel Experimental Assay to Facilitate Risk Assessment of Selection for Antimicrobial Resistance in the Environment. Environmental Health Perspectives, 128(10).
Murray AK, Zhang L, Snape J, Gaze WH (2019). Comparing the selective and co-selective effects of different antimicrobials in bacterial communities. International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents, 53(6), 767-773. Abstract.
Zhang L, Calvo-Bado L, Murray AK, Amos GCA, Hawkey PM, Wellington EM, Gaze WH (2019). Novel clinically relevant antibiotic resistance genes associated with sewage sludge and industrial waste streams revealed by functional metagenomic screening. Environment International, 132 Abstract.
Djenadi K, Zhang L, Murray AK, Gaze WH (2018). Carbapenem resistance in bacteria isolated from soil and water environments in Algeria. Journal of Global Antimicrobial Resistance, 15, 262-267. Abstract.
Leonard AFC, Zhang L, Balfour AJ, Garside R, Hawkey PM, Murray AK, Ukoumunne OC, Gaze WH (2018). Exposure to and colonisation by antibiotic-resistant E. coli in UK coastal water users: Environmental surveillance, exposure assessment, and epidemiological study (Beach Bum Survey). Environment International, 114, 326-333. Abstract.
Murray AK, Zhang L, Yin X, Zhang T, Buckling A, Snape J, Gaze WH (2018). Novel insights into selection for antibiotic resistance in complex microbial communities. mBio, 9(4). Abstract.
Murray AK, Lee J, Bendall R, Zhang L, Sunde M, Slettemeås JS, Gaze W, Page AJ, Vos M (2018). Staphylococcus cornubiensis sp. nov. a member of the staphylococcus intermedius group (SIG). International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology, 68(11), 3404-3408. Abstract.
Lee J, Murray A, Bendall R, Gaze W, Zhang L, Vos M (2015). Improved detection of Staphylococcus intermedius group in a routine diagnostic laboratory. Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 53(3), 961-963. Abstract.

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External Engagement and Impact


  • 1st Place poster prize 2016 (British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy)
  • Leonard Broadbent Prize (University of Bath)
  • Eliahou Dangoor Scholarship (University of Bath)

Committee/panel activities

  • Ordinary Member for One Health and Trustee for the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (2022 - current)

Editorial responsibilities

  • Associate Editor for npj Antimicrobials & Resistance (2022 - current)

Invited lectures

  • Expert Consulation at House of Lords, for the 'Green Pills Bill', February 2023. 
  • AMR Industry Alliance Jan 2021.
  • All-Party Parliamentary Group on Antibiotics meeting, Nov 24th 2020. “Antibiotic residues in sewage and agricultural run-off: can we determine safe thresholds to combat deadly superbugs?”
  • EHMA conference invited panel member 2020. “Environmental Sustainability in the Health Care Sector: A shared ambition and collective efforts”.
  • WSA Alliance webinar: “AMR in water systems.” 20th November, 2020.
  • Cefas AMR Reference Centre 2019. “A novel method to determine effect concentrations of antibiotics that select for antibiotic resistance.”

Media Coverage

  • Better thresholds of antibiotics in the environment needed (Times, Times Radio, Daily Mail, MSN, 2020)
  • New pathogenic species of bacteria Staphylococcus cornubiensis (BBC Devon & Cornwall Live, Daily Mail, Cornwall Live 2018)
  • Low levels of antibiotics and selection for resistance (Centre for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, 2018)

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Undergraduate teaching

  • "Antimicrobial resistance and environmental pollution - what is the link?" BMBS GPH SSU and R SSU

Postgraduate teaching

  • Environment and Human Health MSc
  • Pathogen Evolution MSc

Cotinuing Professional Development courses

  • A One Health Perspective on Antimicrobial Resistance



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Supervision / Group

Research Fellows

  • Pooja Lakhey

Postdoctoral researchers

  • April Hayes

Postgraduate researchers

  • Laura Murray BBSRC/ AstraZeneca iCASE PhD
  • Emma Rossiter
  • Emily Stevenson CMH/CLES/PML/Philanthropic PhD

Research Technicians

  • Suzanne Kay


  • Leah Clarke UQ-Exeter PhD
  • Joanne Glasson MSci Dissertation
  • April Hayes NERC FRESH CDT PhD with AstraZeneca CASE support
  • Isobel Stanton BBSRC PhD student co-supervisor
  • Emily Stevenson MSci Dissertation, Research Technician

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