GWAPES – GW4 AMR Plasmid & Epidemiology and Surveillance
University of Bath: Ed Feil (PI), Tiffany Taylor, Sam Sheppard, Lauren Cowley, Theresa Smith
University of Bristol: Rachel Kwiatkowska, Matthew Avison, Kristen Reyher, Sion Bayliss
Cardiff University: Eshwar Mahenthiralingum, Laura Rushton, Tom Connor
University of Exeter: Aimee Murray, Rob Beardmore, Will Gaze, Anne Leonard, Michiel Vos, Ivana Gudelj, Angus Buckling
The rise of antimicrobial resistance presents an increasing public health, and economic, burden on a global scale. This project will explore a key challenge, and opportunity, in AMR research; how a multidisciplinary approach to the evolutionary and epidemiological dynamics of AMR plasmids can inform targeted surveillance and intervention measures. The project will utilise recent advances in sequencing technology to understand the evolution and spread of ‘plasmids’ – autonomous DNA elements that can spread between bacteria and commonly carry resistance genes. The work will help to focus efforts of AMR surveillance and intervention in different clinical and environmental settings.
The ultimate aim of the project was to develop a synthesis of three strands: i. Bioinformatics and population genetics of natural plasmid populations, ii. Experimental work on model plasmids, and iii. Statistical and Mathematical modelling approaches to provide new tools and an over-arching framework for plasmid transmission.
The community made most progress in the bioinformatics strand, starting a dataset of over 2000 plasmids which they are looking to link into the pathogen.watch database. Analysis of these data, and the implications for AMR in One-Health settings, is being written up for publication, with additional data being added from collaborations in Thailand. Work on the other project strands also progressed, predominantly via discussions at network meetings and small pilot experiments, which will contribute to a perspectives piece and influence future collaborative activities.
The community have a collaborative studentship to continue their work, and a small MRC grant as well as multiple larger collaborative grants in progress.