The global antibiotic resistance threat
Professor Upton and his team in the Antibiotic Resistant Pathogens Research Group are currently working on what has been described by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as one of the major threats to human health and modern medicine - antibiotic resistance. The WHO and international governments have stated that urgent measures are needed to avert the crisis we face. No new class of antibiotic has been introduced into clinical use for nearly 30 years. The team's programme of drug discovery aims to help meet this need for new antibiotics.
Deep sea sponges
Mat's research has taken him to the deep sea in a powerful collaboration with Kerry Howell of the Deep Sea Conservation Research Group. By combining their expertise, Mat and Kerry aim to identify and develop potential new antimicrobials produced in the microbiome of sponges that live deep beneath the ocean surface. Together, they will develop new methods of microbial cultivation, apply them to unique samples from a source rich in bioactive molecules, and identify urgently-needed new antimicrobials.
Mat is also chief scientific officer of Amprologix, a University spin-out company established to help tackle the problem of drug resistant infections by developing new antibiotics and bringing them to market. The company is aiming to meet a growing need for new antibiotics as harmful microbes become increasingly drug resistant. The company has recently won a £1.2 million contract from the Department for Health and Social Care to accelerate development and scale up its lead antibiotic candidate to tackle antimicrobial resistant MRSA and related superbugs.
The person behind the pioneer
We are rapidly running out of options to treat the ever more prevalent ‘resistant’ bacteria. For so long we have taken them for granted. Read more about Professor Mat Upton
To enquire about future collaborations, please contact Professor Mathew Upton
We believe that deep-sea sponges contain diverse populations of new cultivable and non-cultivable bacteria. These represent a substantial uncharacterised and untapped source of bioactive molecules which could help meet the urgent need for new antimicrobials and have other health benefit applications.
Professor Mat Upton
Current projects and research activity
Plymouth Pioneers: marine researchers
Home of marine
Our marine and maritime excellence in world-leading research informs policy agendas for the sustainable management of ocean resources. Our work has significantly improved how to forecast extreme coastal events and their impact on communities. We were the first to study the ecological effects of ocean acidification, and now lead the UK agenda for offshore renewable energy. On national and international levels, we have influenced key policies, conservation practices, responses to climate change, public perception of marine issues, and are defining the pathways toward tangible solutions.
The culture of close collaboration across the city with researchers, policymakers, and local businesses has resulted in Plymouth’s nomination for the UK’s first National Marine Park – an initiative underpinned by research at the University.