Professor Chris Dowson and his team in the School of Life Sciences have been awarded £3.19 million in funding to support a flagship project into antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The funding will enable multi-partner collaborations in order to tackle the growing threat of superbugs as part of a co-ordinated multi-disciplinary effort to fight their prevalence.
Awarded by a cross research council initiative to tackle AMR comprising of the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the funding marks one of the largest UK public grant investments in AMR research which has enabled our academics to focus their research on the global challenges our world faces today.
Researchers, Prof Chris Dowson, Prof David Roper, Dr Adrian Lloyd of the School of Life Sciences and Prof Matthew Turner of the Department of Physics, are investigating a vital link in the chain of antimicrobial resistance – the bacterial cell wall. The main component of the wall is called peptidoglycan, which is the key target of penicillin and other similar antibiotics.
Despite its important role, little is known about how peptidoglycan is made and how antibiotics interfere with it at the biochemical, structural and cellular levels.
Without this knowledge, the researchers argue, we’re unlikely to understand how to develop new, effective cell wall targeting antibiotics.
The project will pull together a unique group of world leaders, from institutions including the Universities of Warwick, Oxford, Sheffield, Southampton and Newcastle, in bacterial chemistry, genetics, physics and physiology in the area of peptidoglycan metabolism, structure and architecture.
Further to academic collaborations, the pharmaceutical industry and charities will also work hand in hand with the researchers on a global scale with the aim of unlocking new types of antibiotics.