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The University of Southampton
Global Network for Anti-Microbial Resistance and Infection Prevention

NAMRIP members take part in a LeSPAR workshop: ‘Antimicrobial resistance: environments, evolution and transmission’

Published: 25 June 2015
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The Learned Society Partnership on Antimicrobial Resistance (LeSPAR) hosted the workshop, which was held at the Charles Darwin House in London.

NAMRIP members took an active role

Sandra Wilks and Connor Frapwell (Natural and Environmental Sciences), Emma Roe and Rebecca Hoyle (Social, Human and Mathematical Sciences), Raymond Allan (Medicine) and Tim Leighton (Engineering and the Environment), were part of the discussion on the national strategy for combatting AntiMicrobial Resistance (AMR).

The Southampton team specifically raised a number of issues, one of which was whether the level of specification as to the scope of calls was appropriate or whether its specificity was removing some potential solutions from the applications. Another was whether researchers are too conservative; tending to apply the research they are familiar with as the ‘best’ solution to given problems. Delegates then discussed how the work of the RCUK in combatting AMR might be improved, such as whether the timescales between calls and deadlines were too short; whether it was fair that some individuals contributed to writing the calls and had advance warning of them more than a year before the public release of the call; whether specification of the scope of calls ruled out too many potential areas of research; and whether the budget for future research was sufficient.

LeSPAR aims to provide a single, unified voice and mobilise the UK’s collective research community in order to enhance understanding and knowledge sharing between academia, industry, and clinicians
7 Learned Societies fighting AMR

The Southampton team also presented posters:

  • Euan Scott on using C. elegans and its neurobiology to develop a biosensor for investigating bacterial pathogenicity
  • Sandra Wilks on understanding biofilms to help in the design of new materials for catheters
  • Rebecca Hoyle on: ‘Maternal effects, phenotypic plasticity and environmental change’ which explores how transgenerational effects might potentially influence how bacteria respond to changes in their environment such as antimicrobial treatments
  • Tim Leighton on the NAMRIP network and on StarStream

A broad range of academics introduced their research interests: from interior design of buildings to reduce AMR, to the environment as reservoir of antibiotic resistance, to the identification of potentially new antibiotics. Cross-disciplinary conversations we were involved in on the day shed light on the different ways disciplines are working on this topic – from understanding the potential of the natural environment e.g. discovering and mining new antimicrobials from soil from the NE of England, to the resistant behaviour of genes, and how different materials foster microbiotic life differently, so identifying themselves as more or less appropriate for use in health technologies. As a social scientist I was drawn to begin to understand how this knowledge of the micro-biome and the risks associated with AMR and how to prevent infection was shaping the everyday lives (or not) of the scientists in the room

Dr Emma Roe - Lecturer in Human Geography, University of Southampton

Notes for editors

NAMRIP is funded by the University of Southampton and benefits hugely from £868,704.00 of funding from EPSRC's Network for Antimicrobial Action 'Bridging the Gap' call [EP/MO27260/1]. The MRC has also invested in NAMRIP, with one project already announced

The Learned Society Partnership on Antimicrobial Resistance is sponsored by The British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, The Society for General Microbiology, The British Pharmacological Society, The Society of Biology, The Biochemical Society, the Royal Society of Chemistry, and the Society for Applied Microbiology.

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