Antibiotic resistant pathogens with ITSMED visual mark

Antibiotic resistance

Antibiotic-resistant infections are one of the leading threats to human health and modern medicine. 

The WHO and international governments have stated that urgent measures are needed to avert the crisis we face.

Discovery of new antibiotics

In our group, we have a programme of drug discovery to help meet the need for new antibiotics. 

Our lead antimicrobial, epidermicin, has unique activity in a relevant infection model and is in pre-clinical testing.

These antibiotics are of a new class (bacteriocins), have novel mechanisms of action and have excellent potential for development into the next generation of powerful antibiotics to treat and prevent drug-resistant infections.

Understanding and treating drug-resistant infections

We study pathogens that cause drug resistant infections. Our particular focus is on urinary tract infections, which are one of the most common bacterial infections and the cause of enormous levels of antibiotic prescription, much of which is not necessary or justified.

We have significant expertise in analysis of the genetic relationships of these bacteria (using genome sequence analysis and sequence typing), which helps us understand the factors that lead to development of antibiotic resistance and the way the infections are spread.

We use the Galleria mellonella larvae infection model, cell culture and high-resolution proteomic methods to analyse the pathogenicity of these bacteria. By understanding the way that these bacteria cause disease and avoid the action of our immune system, we aim to identify new targets for therapeutic drugs and vaccines.

Academic collaboration

If you have an idea for a research project related to antibiotic discovery, please get in touch with Professor Mathew Upton:

Commercial collaboration

If you are a business or organisation, Enterprise Solutions will help you to navigate the University's internationally recognised expertise, facilities and business services. They will support with more information on how your business can benefit from connecting and collaborating with the University of Plymouth – both on antimicrobial resistance and beyond.

Contact Enterprise Solutions on:

UK – South Africa research team to establish ‘hub’ for discovery of new antibiotics

An international research collaboration has received funding to discover and accelerate the development of new antibiotics.

The three-year, £1.9 million project aims to discover novel compounds from natural sources that have the potential to be developed into new antimicrobial drugs.

The project will bring together scientists from the UK and South Africa, to establish an Antibiotic Accelerator Hub to significantly boost capacity for discovery of new antibiotics. The focus will be on unexplored, biodiversity-rich habitats, including deep sea and polar environments, offering real potential for new ‘natural product’-derived drugs.

Read more on this latest announcement

Mat Upton Plymouth Pioneers. Deep sea. coral reef

Amprologix Ltd: Developing the next generation of antibiotics

There have been no new antibiotics introduced into clinical use for 30 years, and those in use are increasingly found to be less and less effective. 

University spinout company Amprologix Ltd will develop and commercialise the work of Professor Mat Upton, aiming to combat antimicrobial resistance by producing the first new class of antibiotic to be introduced into clinical use for decades.

Find out more about this critical work

Pills and capsules in medical vial
Derriford Research Facility from the ground