Joint Programming Initiative on Antimicrobial Resistance

Laura Piddock

My research aims to increase understanding of the basic biology of antibacterial drug action and resistance. In the 1990s my team identified the mechanisms of fluoroquinolone resistance in food borne bacteria (e.g. Salmonella, Campylobacter) and those that infect the respiratory tract (e.g. Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Streptococcus pneumoniae). In the 2000s, we then showed that clinically relevant multi-drug resistance (MDR)in bacteria isolated from people that failed antibiotic treatment was mediated by proteins that efflux (export) antibiotics from bacterial cells. My current research focuses on understanding mechanisms of antibiotic resistance as a basis for drug discovery and includes (1) regulation (switching on and off) of the expression of multidrug efflux pumps, (2) understanding the relationship between multi-drug efflux and virulence, and (3) furthering understanding of the mechanism of transfer of plasmids (mobile genetic elements) between bacteria. I have been an expert advisor to the WHO and the FDA (fluoroquinolone resistance) on antibiotic resistance, a member of the UK Food Standards Agency Advisory Committee on the Microbiology Safety of Food and member of numerous other grant and advisory committees. As the BSAC Chair of Public Engagement I am the Director of Antibiotic Action, a UK-led global initiative to raise awareness of the need for new treatments for bacterial infections. In this role I work with the UK Department of Health, the Shadow Minister for Health and the Chief Medical Officer, as well as Public Health England, governmental policy makers, leading medical charities and related organisations.