Antimicrobial Resistance & Microbiology

The World Health Organisation cites antimicrobial resistance (AMR) as one of the most significant risks facing the world. AMR threatens global health and development as it impacts on human, animal and plant health and also our environment, water safety and food security. By 2050 it's estimated that antimicrobial resistance will cause 10 million global deaths every year. Often referred to as a 'hidden pandemic', this is an issue on a global scale and our 'One Health' approach focuses on designing and implementing programmes, policies, legislation and research in which multiple sectors communicate and work together to achieve better public health outcomes.

Our research focuses on the evolution of resistance in complex microbial communities found in human, animal and environmental microbiomes. We also study the dissemination of AMR at a landscape scale and human exposure and transmission in aquatic environments. Our team has reported to and informed policy for organisations including the Environment Agency, The United Nations Environment Assembly and The European Union.

The following represents the diversity of interdisciplinary work undertaken by teams at ECEHH in this area.

Tackling the Global Challenge of Antimicrobial Resistance

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New video explains how GW4 is tackling the global threat of antimicrobial resistance using 'One Health' approach

The GW4 Alliance’s response to the global challenge of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) – one of the greatest emerging threats to human health – is showcased in a new video.

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Experts report to UN on AMR

Antibiotic resistance is one of the greatest health challenges of modern times – and now two world-leading academics from ECEHH have reported to the United Nations on how the problem can be spread through our natural environment.

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Exeter in GW4's world-leading One Health approach to tackling antimicrobial resistance pandemic

The GW4 Alliance (Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter universities) formally launch their new ‘One Health’ antimicrobial resistance research consortium today. The World Health Organisation cites antimicrobial resistance (AMR) as one…

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Research is key weapon in tackling antibiotic resistance

Research at the European Centre for Environment  & Human Health is part of an unprecedented cross council collaboration to tackle the rising threat of antibiotic resistance. For the first time, all seven UK research councils have come together to co-ordinate the work of their teams.

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Combating AMR with Innovation

Our One Health approach to antimicrobial resistance means we are committed to developing new ways to reduce antibiotic resistance, minimise antibiotic use, create alternative treatments, and tackle the major health and food threat from anti-fungal resistance.

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Hidden pandemic of antibiotic-resistant infections, health officials warn

UKHSA chief medical adviser Dr Susan Hopkins said antimicrobial resistance was a "hidden pandemic" and it was important "we do not come out of Covid-19 and enter into another crisis".

Understanding the Transmission of Antimicrobial Resistance

Research project

Antibiotic resistance in coastal waters

Determining the levels and spread of antibiotic resistant E. coli in the environment.

Research project

Catchment-scale antimicrobial resistance

How do catchment-scale processes contribute to antibiotic resistance in coastal waters?

Research project

Assessing exposure to antibiotic resistance

How are humans exposed to environmental reservoirs of antibiotic resistant organisms?

Research project

Antimicrobial resistance in freshwater microbes

Investigating selection for antimicrobial resistance by non-antibiotic drugs in freshwater microbes.

Research project

Antimicrobial resistance in rivers

Analysing the contribution of wastewater treatment discharge to antibiotic resistance.

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Research establishes safe water thresholds for antimicrobials, advancing the battle against resistance

Researchers have made progress towards a G7 commitment to establish safe standards for the release of antimicrobials into the environment, by developing a new framework that establishes safe thresholds. The…

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Rapid testing developed to combat antibiotic resistance build-up in waterways

Researchers have developed a swift new method that could help reduce the problem of antibiotic resistance increasing via wastewater systems Around 70 per cent of the antibiotics we take as…

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Scientists and Surfers team up to assess antibiotic resistance

Microbiologists to shed light on how surfers might be affected by antibiotic resistant bacteria.

Assessing the risks of antimicrobial evolution

Research project

AMR environmental risk assessment

Designing a new method to quantify the environmental risks posed by antibiotics.

Research project

Improving understanding of AMR in livestock systems: A conceptual framework

AMR: The issue with livestock  Antimicrobial usage (AMU) in livestock has been shown to be an important driver of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in animals and is associated with resistance in humans,…

Research project

Evolution of opportunistic pathogens

Understanding the ecology and evolution of antimicrobial resistance in opportunistic pathogens.

Research project

Herbicides and antibiotic resistance

Investigating selection for antimicrobial resistance by plant protection products.

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Play the Lameness Game to help reduce antibiotic use in sheep farming

A new citizen science study is trying to understand how easy it is to spot lameness in sheep by using a simulation game – in order to help reduce the…

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Working to develop a standardised method, the first of its kind, that can rapidly and cost effectively fill the data gap in AMR evolution and contribute to setting targets for antimicrobial concentrations in the environment that will minimise the risk of evolution of AMR occurring in the environment.

Focusing on the ecology and evolution of pathogens in the environment

Research project

Uncovering pathogens in the soil microbiome

Investigating pathogens present in soil through the application of the Galleria mellonella model.

Research project

Understanding the evolution of antimicrobial resistance

How do environmental factors shape the ratio of vertical to horizontal resistance evolution?