Ilyas Alav

Ilyas Alav

School of Biosciences

Contact details

Institute of Microbiology and Infection
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

PhD Title: Targeting efflux pumps to combat antimicrobial resistance

Supervisors: Primary: Dr Jessica Blair, Secondary: Dr Luke Alderwick

Antibiotic resistance is currently one of the gravest threats to global public health and economic development, estimated to cause an additional 10 million deaths per year and a loss of up to US$100 trillion from the global economy by 2050. Bacteria can become resistant to antibiotics in many ways but one important mechanism is through the action of multi-drug efflux pumps. These pumps are located in the bacterial cell membrane and function to pump antibiotics out of cells. This reduces intracellular concentration of drug within bacteria allowing them to survive at higher drug concentrations and therefore, conferring antibiotic resistance. Many efflux pumps can export multiple classes of antibiotic so the bacteria are resistant to many drugs at the same time, known as multi-drug resistance (MDR).

The resistance-nodulation-division (RND) family of efflux pumps confer antibiotic resistance to many human and animal pathogens, including the foodborne pathogen Salmonella. In addition to being one of the most common causes of food poisoning globally, Salmonella also has a significant impact on animal health, resulting in decreased productivity and significant economic loss. Ilyas’s PhD project involves understanding the role of efflux pumps in antibiotic resistance of Salmonella and researching ways to inhibit their function to tackle antibiotic resistance.


  • BSc (Hons) Biochemistry
  • MSc Pharmacology


Ilyas studied biochemistry at the University of Nottingham where he initially developed an interest for antimicrobial resistance. During his third year project at Nottingham, he worked to identify novel antibiotic resistance genes in Escherichia coli using transposon directed insertion site sequencing. He then went onto study for a master’s degree in pharmacology at King’s College London. His medicinal chemistry-based research project involved designing and synthesizing novel efflux pump inhibitors at the Institute of Pharmaceutical Science, then evaluating their biological activity in Acinetobacter baumannii at Public Health England, Porton Down.


Ilyas is currently a PhD student at Dr Jessica Blair’s group.

His research interests include antibiotic resistance, efflux pumps and molecular biology.

Other activities

Ilyas is a member of the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy and the Microbiology Society.


Alav I, Sutton J and Rahman K (2018). Role of bacterial efflux pumps in biofilm formation. J Antimicrob Chemother 73(8):2003-2020.