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.
Do deep sea sponges hold the key to antibiotic resistance?
Mat Upton, Professor in Medical Microbiology and his team from the University of Plymouth think that the solution to antibiotic resistance may lie deep under the surface of the ocean, in dark, cold environments where weird and wonderful sponges live.
Mat, who is also the lead for the University's Antibiotic Resistant Pathogens Research Group, led a talk at TEDxTruro questioning if new antibiotics can be found in deep, dark places.
- Castelino M, Eyre S, Moat J, Fox G, Martin P, Ho P, Upton M, Barton A (2017) 'Optimisation of methods for bacterial skin microbiome investigation: primer selection and comparison of the 454 versus MiSeq platform' BMC Microbiol 17, (1) 23
- Halliwell S, Warn P, Sattar A, Derrick JP, Upton M (2017) 'A single dose of epidermicin NI01 is sufficient to eradicate MRSA from the nares of cotton rats' J Antimicrob Chemother 72, (3) 778-781
- Sarkar S, Roberts LW, Phan M-D, Tan L, Lo AW, Peters KM, Paterson DL, Upton M, Ulett GC, Beatson SA (2016) 'Comprehensive analysis of type 1 fimbriae regulation in fimB -null strains from the multidrug resistant Escherichia coli ST131 clone' Mol Microbiol 101, (6) 1069–1087
- Moat J, Rizoulis A, Fox G, Upton M (2016) 'Domestic shower hose biofilms contain fungal species capable of causing opportunistic infection' J Water Health 14, (5) 727-737
- Morra R, Shankar J, Robinson CJ, Halliwell S, Butler L, Upton M, Hay S, Micklefield J, Dixon N (2016) 'Dual transcriptional-translational cascade permits cellular level tuneable expression control' Nucleic Acids Res 44, (3) e21
Dr Mat Upton speaks about the ongoing antibiotic discovery work in his group at the Sustainable Earth Institute conference. Antibiotic resistance is a real threat to the sustainability of modern medicine.
Discovering new antibiotics in the deep sea
Marine sponges and the deep-sea ecosystem are comparatively under-studied and under-exploited compared with life in shallower waters – but a team of scientists from the University of Plymouth are identifying and developing potential new antimicrobials produced by the microbiome of sponges which live deep beneath the ocean surface.
In this video, Dr Mathew Upton, Associate Professor (Reader) in Medical Microbiology, talks about his work with antibiotics.
A major area of Dr Upton’s research is in the discovery and development of a new class of antibiotics; antimicrobial peptides, for use in treating and preventing drug-resistant infections such a MRSA, potentially with one dose.
How can we fight antibiotic resistance?
As part of the ‘Science in the News Explained’ public talks, Dr Mathew Upton, discusses what action we can take to combat antibiotic resistance.
Derriford Research Facility
A major area of research at the new Derriford Research Facility, is the discovery and development of a new class of highly potent antibiotics.Find our more about the Derriford Research Facility