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Division of Microbiology and Infection Seminar

25 June 2014, 12.30pm-1.30pm, GLT3, Warwick Medical School Building, University of Warwick


Title: 'Antimicrobial metal resistances - every silver lining has a cloud'


Dr Jon Hobman, Associate Professor of Microbiology, School of Biosciences, Faculty of Science, University of Nottingham


Metals such as mercury, arsenic, copper and silver have been used in various forms as antimicrobials for many hundreds of years. The discovery of antibiotics and new organic antimicrobial compounds during the twentieth century saw a general decline in the clinical use of antimicrobial metal compounds, with the exception of silver. These new antibiotics and antimicrobials were generally regarded as being safer to the patient and more effective antimicrobials than the metal-based compounds they supplanted, but usage of antimicrobial metals persists in agriculture, and is if anything, increasing in non-medical applications.

We are currently characterizing antimicrobial metal ion resistance mechanisms in Gram-negative bacteria, but how widespread and important are these resistances and the mobile genetic elements that carry them? How are they contributing to the multidrug resistance (MDR) problem? This talk will examine antimicrobial metal ion resistance mechanisms, evidence for their persistence, and co-selection of MDR in the Enterobacteriaceae.


Jon's research interests centre on bacterial metal ion homeostasis and resistance, and pathogenic enterobacteria. Current research areas include:

  • Bacterial resistance to antimicrobial metals.Gene regulation of antimicrobial metal resistance genes.Antimicrobial resistance plasmids in Gram-negative bacteria.Laboratory and pathogenic Escherichia coli.
  • Molecular methods for studying bacterial gene regulation and expression.
  • Molecular methods for engineering Gram-negative bacteria.