Dr Deborah Williamson - Doherty Institute

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24 October 2017

Tackling the threat of antibiotic resistance

As a society we take for granted the ability to treat infectious disease. Currently one of the biggest man-made health threats of the modern age is antibiotic resistance. The ability of bacteria to resist the effects of antibiotic treatments is leaving health care professionals with limited or in some instances no available treatment options. It is critically important that we address this resistance, as common infections are becoming life threatening.

While the development of antibiotic resistance is to some extent a natural phenomenon, the single most powerful contributor is the global unrestrained use of antibiotics. Deborah’s research focuses on the common bacteria, known to become resistant to antibiotic treatments, Staphylococcus aureus (S.aureus). Deborah hypothesises that widespread use of antibiotics and antiseptics is causing the increased development of S.aureus strains that are co-resistant to multiple classes of antibiotics, leading to the clinical failure of antibiotic therapy.

Deborah research will unravel the mechanisms of antibiotic resistance for this common bacterium, but importantly her work will form a crucial framework for investigating antibiotic resistance in other bacteria. Deborah will be able to better inform how to use antibiotics and antiseptics (in both community and hospital settings) and ultimately help to prevent the spread of antibiotic resistance.


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