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.