Antimicrobial Resistance PhD

Why antimicrobial resistance?

Our program is designed to equip the next generation of innovators by creating a group of world-class researchers who can apply their skills in antibiotic resistance to tackle an important global challenge in infectious disease.

The emergence, spread and persistence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is considered by WHO as one of the greatest global threats to human health. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) threatens the treatment and outcome of even simple infections and common medical interventions that until recently were considered low-risk. AMR gives rise to untreatable infections in those most at risk– the young, elderly, and those with underlying co-morbidities.

Over the past decade, AMR has increased at an alarming rate in hospital and community settings worldwide. Many recent reports from national and international organisations (e.g. WHO, CDC, ECDC, EU) have all highlighted the urgent need to address AMR. In 2020, WHO declared that AMR is one of the top 10 global public health threats facing humanity emphasising the pressing need for new ways to treat or prevent infections to avoid a return to the pre-antibiotic era.

Given the rapid evolution of bacterial pathogens resistant to all classes of conventional antibiotics, one might consider the solution is simply to develop more antibiotics. However, since the ‘golden age’ of antibiotic discovery (1940–1980), the development pipeline has dried to a trickle. Disappointingly, most major pharmaceutical companies withdrew from antibiotic development mainly because of the challenges in identifying new antibacterial agents, the adverse economics of developing drugs that rapidly succumb to resistance and the regulatory barriers.

Difficulties in antibiotic development have been further compounded by pharmaceutical company mergers and the concomitant loss of antibacterial research expertise. Therefore, a new generation of multidisciplinary scientists is required to effectively address AMR at this crucial juncture in modern medicine.

The IMB AMR Cohort is focused on finding solutions to antimicrobial resistance – not only discovering and developing new antibiotics, but also fundamental research to improve our understanding of how bacteria interact with antibiotics and develop resistance, how our body fights infections, and whether we can conceive completely new, non-antibiotic approaches to treat drug-resistant bacteria.  

IMB has extensive national and international collaborations with academics, not-for-profits and companies involved in antimicrobial resistance. Our partnerships include working relationships with the Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership (GARDP), Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator (CARB-X) and The Australian Antimicrobial Resistance network (AAMRNet). 

Contact

Dr Madhavi Maddugoda
Strategic Advisor, Research Training

  m.maddugoda@uq.edu.au

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