Outwitting the world's deadliest bugs

Dr Anne-Marie Krachler’s pioneering research focuses on flushing out pathogens rather than destroying them, as Ros Dodd reports.

Dr Anne-Marie Krachler made the biggest scientific breakthrough of her young career to date – a way to combat drug-resistant bacteria – while doing postdoctoral research in the United States. This coincided with injured American soldiers being flown home from war zones for treatment, only to develop sometimes-fatal bacterial infections.

‘This has been a real problem – troops returning home from the likes of Afghanistan and developing wound infections. Many of the bacteria that cause wound infections – such as Acinetobacter, Pseudomonas, Klebsiella and extended spectrum beta-lactamase-producing E.coli – are multi-drug-resistant. So soldiers were surviving their injuries but succumbing to wound infections,’ she says.