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This event took place on Wednesday 24 November 2021.

We are proud to present the Inaugural Professorial Lecture of Professor Mathew Upton.

Antibiotics have been essential to modern medicine for the past 70 years, but efforts to discover new ones have diminished since the 1960s. Now predictions indicate that by 2050, 10 million people per year will die from antibiotic resistant infections, igniting a new urgency to tackle this global crisis.

Antibiotics have saved countless lives since their discovery in 1928, and are essential to safely carry out routine medical procedures like joint replacements, transplants, heart surgery and cancer therapy. As strains of microbes emerge that are resistant to the effects of antibiotics, our entire medical system could be undermined, as many procedures become too risky to carry out.

Professor of Medical Microbiology, Mathew Upton, is a rising star in the field of antimicrobial resistance, dedicating his work to discovering potential sources for antimicrobials that can be turned into the new classes of antibiotic; there have been no new classes of antibiotic introduced into clinical use in the last 30 years. His research has explored the extremes of the Earth, from early work leading him to Antarctica and more recent investigations looking to the deep-sea.

In this insightful lecture Mathew reflects on his extensive research in the field of microbiology, from his first spark of interest in studying antimicrobial resistance, to creating the Antibiotic Resistant Pathogens Research Group, to the launch of his spinout company Amprologix.

Amprologix is the culmination of uniting his expertise with industrial partner Ingenza Ltd, to convert his antimicrobial discoveries into new antibiotics that could one day be distributed globally. With a potential new antibiotic already on the horizon for Amprologix, this lecture presents a unique opportunity to hear the latest research in this frontier of medical science. 

You are welcome to join us for University of Plymouth's Inaugural Professorial Lecture series, which provide a milestone event in a professorial career. Through these we can promote and celebrate the academic reputation and achievements within their research.

This event is open to the public and free to attend. This is a hybrid-delivery event, meaning there will be some limited, socially-distanced seating available for in-person attendance or alternatively you can participate in the event live using Zoom. Please register using the link above.

"If new, powerful antibiotic drugs are not discovered, we ‘may’ return to the pre-antibiotic era."

Mathew Upton from the University of Plymouth thinks that the solution may lie deep under the surface of the ocean, in dark, cold environments where weird and wonderful sponges live. Mathew is a Professor in Medical Microbiology at the University of Plymouth and the lead for the Antibiotic Resistant Pathogens Research Group. 

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organised by a local community. Learn more at

Antibiotic resistant pathogens research group

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.

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.

Antibiotic resistant pathogens with ITSMED visual mark

Plymouth Institute of Health and Care Research

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Public Research Programme

The year-long programme of public events showcases our research across a spectrum of topics. It presents the Inaugural Professorial Lecture series which celebrates the achievements of our academics who have been awarded their professorship; providing a platform for which they can share insights into their esteemed research.
All are welcome to join us as our academics open the door to the intriguing world of research, inviting you to learn more about the fascinating work taking place across the University.
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