The discovery of penicillin over 90 years ago and its subsequent uptake by healthcare systems around the world revolutionised global health and wellbeing. It marked the beginning of a golden age in antibiotic discovery with new classes of antibiotics being routinely discovered and saving millions of lives annually.
However, towards the end of the last century the rate of discovery slowed to a near standstill. This lack of discovery has been compounded by the rapid emergence and spread of bacterial pathogens that exhibit resistance to multiple antibiotic treatments threatening the sustainability of healthcare systems globally. In fact, it is estimated that by 2050, antibiotic resistance may be responsible for up to 50 million deaths per year.
In the CIRTM, we aim to understand how bacteria evolve resistance to specific antibiotics and to characterise the different mechanisms enabling this resistance. We have a particular focus on understanding biofilm formation, a community like behaviour that allows bacteria to overcome exposure to antibiotics. We have also established a robust drug discovery pipeline that aims to identify and profile novel compounds that can disrupt the virulence mechanisms that bacteria use to establish infection or overcome antibiotic therapy.