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Professor Elizabeth Wellington

Professor

Email: E.M.H.Wellington@warwick.ac.uk

Phone: 024 765 23184

Office: D033

Twitter: @ElizabethWelli1ns in a new windowother social media handles

Wellington webpage


Research Clusters

Microbiology & Infectious Disease

Environment & Ecology


Warwick Centres and GRPs

Health

Habitability


Vacancies and Opportunities

For PhD and postdoctoral opportunities, and interest in potential collaborations, please contact me at the above email address.


Research Interests

Monitoring pathogens in human and animal waste is a useful non-invasive approach for studying population disease dynamics and Prof Wellington and her research group provided the first evidence that antimicrobial resistance (AMR) was being disseminated via environmental pathways. They provided evidence that wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) made a significant contribution to AMR in UK rivers and that many human pathogens with multiple resistance genes could be detected directly downstream of WWTPs. These pathogens were viable, and evidence was also found of significant ingress of the resistance genes into populations of indigenous bacteria in the river.

The environment provides pathogens with opportunities to mix and interact with many different microbial populations. This mixing of human, animal and environmental microbiomes is a critical point in the evolution of new diseases. Current research in the Wellington group using long and short read sequencing of environmental samples is providing direct sequence analysis of new and emerging combinations of virulence and resistance genes. Her research is revealing how new combinations of virulence and resistance genes emerge in specific locations due to gene mobilization mechanisms. This new understanding of how new gene combinations evolve is informing the critical work of policy makers in environmental health protection as they develop ways to mitigate dissemination of these new threats.

Research: Technical Summary

The environment is a critical compartment involved in transmission dynamics of human and animal pathogens and Professor Elizabeth Wellington has pioneered the study of how pathogens survive and become disseminated in the environment. Her research led to the development of a faecal test to determine infection status of badger social groups for the carriage of bovine TB using a specially adapted specific faecal PCR test for Mycobacterium bovis. This approach was applied to environmental samples of soil, water, herbage, feed, faeces and slurry in the farm environment, proving for the first time that live M. bovis was present in water troughs and other samples from farms.

Monitoring pathogens in human and animal waste is a useful non-invasive approach for studying population disease dynamics and Prof Wellington and her research group provided the first evidence that antimicrobial resistance (AMR) was being disseminated via environmental pathways. They provided evidence that wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) made a significant contribution to AMR in UK rivers and that many human pathogens with multiple resistance genes could be detected directly downstream of WWTPs. These pathogens were viable and evidence was also found of significant ingress of the resistance genes into populations of indigenous bacteria in the river.

The environment provides pathogens with opportunities to mix and interact with many different microbial populations. This mixing of human, animal and environmental microbiomes is a critical point in the evolution of new diseases. Current research in the Wellington group using long and short read sequencing of environmental samples is providing direct sequence analysis of new and emerging combinations of virulence and resistance genes. Her research is revealing how new combinations of virulence and resistance genes emerge in specific locations due to gene mobilization mechanisms. This new understanding of how new gene combinations evolve is informing the critical work of policy makers in environmental health protection as they develop ways to mitigate dissemination of these new threats.

Publications

For a full list of publications, see WRAP

  • PhD University of Liverpool 1980