Multidisciplinary Centre of Excellence in Antimicrobial Resistance Research

01/2022
 - 12/2026

The increase in antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a major global health threat. Understanding the drivers of this problem is of fundamental importance as the introduction of a new antimicrobial is always followed by the emergence of resistance.

In general, human activity is known to profoundly impact both the evolution and transmission of AMR. While it is well-established that antibiotic use is a major driver in the initial development of antimicrobial resistance, a multitude of other factors have a profound
impact on the rapid increase and spread of resistant microbes and genes across the globe by travellers, animals, and trade. Colonization of the host intestine is a crucial step in the AMR process but is currently poorly understood. A key part of the solution will be mapping the various selective pressures in AMR evolution as well as factors resulting in successful colonization and transmission between individuals, within and between societies and across ecosystems.

As the development of AMR is a complex problem, fighting it effectively requires a broad, multidisciplinary approach that takes the various facets into consideration. Our Centre of Excellence will unravel the problem of AMR as a joint effort by experts in biology, medicine, sociology and bioinformatics. We will collect, combine and analyse data that are usually assessed separately such as human AMR data (including both patients and healthy individuals), environmental AMR data (including water, soils and animals) and sociological data (including individual, community and societal levels), and connect these data with evolutionary experiments for a mechanistic understanding of the process. Our AMR-CoE will push the field forward by combining these in a unique approach based on a conceptualisation where the overall AMR risk is divided into three interdependent components. These components are environments; hosts and their activities; and the intrinsic dynamics of AMR. We will conduct integrative data analysis to identify genetic, phenotypic, environmental and sociological features and mechanisms behind the AMR risk. Our integrative approach will build a foundation for science-based actions against AMR and be transformative on how AMR is studied.

Related people

Alicia Ng
PhD Candidate

University of Helsinki

Salla Sariola
Director | Senior Lecturer

University of Helsinki

Collaborators

University of Turku
UH, director