About the Institute


IMI logo

Our vision is to find solutions to global challenges. One of the biggest challenges facing the world today is antimicrobial resistance to drug treatments – and this, in its broadest context, is our main focus.

In fact, we are the first academic institution in the UK whose research priority is to tackle this growing problem. With one of the largest communities of microbiologists in the world, we are at the vanguard of innovative research into combatting antimicrobial and antibiotic resistance. We do this with a three-pronged approach: diagnosis, treatment and prevention.

What is Microbiology?

Microbiology is the study of viruses, parasites, fungi and bacteria and is of great importance because it is integral to all other biological sciences. This means our work is extremely collaborative: as well as expert microbiologists, our researchers include immunologists, biochemists and chemists. Together they bring a formidable amount of technical expertise to next-generation areas of study, from DNA sequencing to structural biology.


An annual £50m portfolio of grant income allows us not only to carry out a raft of leading-edge research – much of it at a fundamental science level – on key pathogens of medical and veterinary importance, but also to provide a ‘go to’ scientific home for post-doctoral fellows and students.

Our Successes

The ultimate aim, of course, is to translate this basic science into new ways to treat and prevent serious infections, from Crohn’s disease to tuberculosis – and already our work is having a significant real-life impact.

Our successes include:

  • The Antibiotic Action campaign, a global initiative, set up by Professor Laura Piddock with the aim of informing and educating politicians, policy makers and the public about the need for discovery, research and development of new antibiotics, as well as the appropriate use of existing ones
  • New legislation now in force across the EU as a result of research carried out by Professor Piddock and Dr Mark Webber, along with others at the University, which showed that biocides – commonly used as disinfectants and preservatives – were a key factor in increasing antibiotic resistance of pathogenic bacteria
  • A patient trial, with outstanding results, of a new treatment technique we have developed for chronic respiratory infections, in particular bronchiectasis (where the airways of the lungs become abnormally widened, causing a risk of infection). This technique removes antibody-killing proteins from the bloodstream
  • A new salmonella vaccine, licensed to GSK, aimed especially at children in developing countries, where salmonella is a problem and can result in septicaemia and meningitis. The vaccine was developed by Professors Ian Henderson and Adam Cunningham
  • The identification of a new mechanism of antibiotic resistance in bacterial cells that may help us understand, and develop solutions to, the growing problem of antibiotic resistance.
  • Our researchers used whole genome sequencing to reveal a mutation in the bacterial cells that allowed them, in a patient with salmonella, to become resistant to the effects of some antibiotics.

Our values

Our Institute is founded on four key elements valued by our stakeholders

  • Discover– Our strength in research derives from the breadth and depth of expertise in the field of microbiology. We will use this strength purposefully to attain excellence in research, leading at the forefront of the discipline.
  • Innovate– We will transcend discipline boundaries integrating our expertise to deliver world-leading research outputs.  We will collaborate strategically to become a nationally and globally engaged research Institute.
  • Deliver– We will have impact, integrating our research efforts with our key stakeholders. We will achieve improved outcomes for patients, increased opportunities for business and greater awareness of our efforts amongst the public.
  • Inspire– We will celebrate our distinctiveness, we will have confidence in our purpose and we will take pride in our achievements. We will be beacons of inspiration for our students and postdoctoral fellows. We will lead and nurture these individuals so they are enthused and can build on the foundations of our research efforts to cement their futures as leaders of the discipline.

Strategic priorities

To achieve the Mission and Vision of the Institute the IMG will seek to empower our students and staff to deliver in the following strategic areas.

  • Research: We will seek to enhance the discipline of microbiology through the publication of high-quality research.  We will strive to maximize inward investment into the Institute so members of the Institute can deliver high-quality research. We will strive to maximize income streams from research councils and other funders, and to take every opportunity to avail of specific initiatives to increase our research base
  • Professional Development: We will strive to create a happy, functioning and successful working environment. We will grow and nurture the talents of our researchers by mentoring and encouraging them to be the best they can be. We will seek to ensure best practice in supervision and to deliver a positive experience that students share with the world.
  • Awareness: We will raise the external profile of the IMI. We will do this by engaging with communities about IMI activities. We will achieve this through a well-developed and accessible website and through the use of social networking sites.  We will promote our research that has originality and impact to the public directly.  We will seek to increase our markers of esteem.
  • Engage with industry and the healthcare sector: We will promote the use of our existing facilities to industry and to other external researchers.  We will develop the IMI as a destination for industry seeking to innovate and create impact in the sphere of microbiology. We will maximize the benefits of these interactions for training our students and postdoctoral fellows.