Dr Mathew Upton
Associate Professor (Reader) in Medical Microbiology
School of Biomedical & Healthcare Sciences (Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry)
ORCID ID - orcid.org/0000-0003-4287-6396
May 2013 - Reader in Medical Microbiology, University of Plymouth
April 2014 - Co-founder and Director at Spectromics Ltd (http://www.spectromics.com/)
June 2011 - Senior Lecturer in Medical Microbiology, University of Manchester
BSc (Hons) Microbiology, University of Newcastle
Society for General Microbiology
Roles on external bodies
Areas of teaching interest relate to medical microbiology, bacterial genomics and antibiotic resistance.
Understanding the inner workings of bacterial pathogens
The vast majority of bacteria that live in and on our bodies contribute significantly to our health and well-being. However, sometimes we succumb to bacterial infections and, increasingly, these are becoming harder to treat due to antibiotic resistance. My group focuses on investigation of E. coli strains that cause urinary tract infections, a very common infection that is often mild, but can lead to severe debilitation, or death. The introduction of next generation DNA sequencing technologies has revolutionized the way we examine the mechanisms that pathogenic bacteria use to cause disease or evade the action of antibiotics. By studying their genomes, we aim to understand these bacteria and will be able to develop specific molecular assays for rapid detection and for outbreak investigation.
The above work is carried out in collaboration with colleagues at University of Queesnland, Brisbane (Drs Scott Beatson and Makrina Totsika and Prof Mark Schembri) and University of Liverpool (Prof Craig Winstanley).
Plugging the gaps in the antibiotic discovery pipeline
The WHO have declared that antibiotic resistance is one of the major threats to human health. Very recently, the Chief Medical Officer raised this issue nationally and the topic was even highlighted at the G8 summit in June 2013. However, there is still a real need to discover novel antibiotics. Infections caused by drug resistant pathogens are a significant cause of morbidity and mortality and pan-resistant organisms are becoming less rare. My group runs a programme of natural product screening for discovery of bacteriocins, antimicrobial peptides produced by bacteria. The programme is supported by use of next generation sequencing methods to determine bacterial genome sequences and generate metagenomic datasets that can be interrogated with various software tools for identification of putative bacteriocins.
Lead compounds are being developed towards clinical use with commercially focused funding from BBSRC and other sources.
Scopus author ID - 35593933700
ResearchGate profile - Mathew_Upton
Research degrees awarded to supervised students
I have supervised 16 PhD students and over 70 MSc research projects. These projects have all been in the field of medical microbiology and have involved collaborators at UK universities, Public Health England (formerly HPA) and NHS Trusts.
Grants & contracts
Societyfor Applied Microbiology. Mining deep-sea sponges fornovel antimicrobial biologics. Oct 2017-Sept 2020. (PI awarded £65k)
InnovateUK. Biomedical Catalyst. Developing a pipeline of bacteriocin-basedantibiotics. Aug 2017-July 2020. (Lead Academic awarded £299k with Ingenza andNational Physical Laboratory; total award £933k)
InnovateUK. Capital Equipment for AMR research. Jan-March 2017.(Lead Academic awarded £85k, with Ingenza Ltd; total award £143k)
Innovate UK/BBSRC Efficient production of first in classantimicrobial therapeutics from an integrated synthetic biology approach.Industrial Biocatalyst award with Ingenza Ltd, Edinburgh - May 2015-APril 2017(Lead Academic, awarded £217,000)
Public Health England. PhD Studentship Co-infection duringinfluenza. October 2014 - September 2017 (Co-I; £90,000)
Healthcare Infection Society. MRSA genome sequenceanalysis. March 2014 (PI; £9,900)
Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust Charitable Funds. Investigationof water-borne pathogens in Critical Care Areas using genomic approaches. May2013 (Co-I; £11,850)
BBSRC, Follow on Fund. Development of epidermicin for nasal decolonisationofMRSA carriage. March 2012 (PI; £132,000)
UMIP, University of Manchester. Development of methods forrapid detection of UTI. August 2012 (Co-PI; £102,000)
UMIP, University of Manchester. Recombinant expression ofantimicrobial peptides. July 2011 (PI; £23,000)
Department of Health, UK National Innovation Centre and UMIP, Universityof Manchester, Development of point of care diagnostics for urinary tract infection.July 2011 (Co-PI; £54,000)
Department of Health, UK National Innovation Centre and UMIP, Universityof Manchester, Development of an in-situ indicator of catheter colonisation. July2011 (Co-PI; £80,000)
Welcome Trust, Understanding UPEC biology. March 2011 (CoI with CWinstanley, Liverpool;£113,500)
BBSRC, Regulatory and market consultancy for a novel antibiotic. September2010 (PI; £15,500)
UMIP, University of Manchester. Antimicrobial peptidesactive against staphylococci. December 2008 (PI; £75,000)
Key publications are highlightedJournals
Other academic activities
Patents granted or filed
- Tagg, JR., K. Dierksen & M. Upton. Salivaricin B, a novelstreptococcal lantibiotic with therapeutic potential. 500261 (NZ, October2000); 09/913,763(USA August 2004).
- Upton, M., & SK. Sandiford. Novel peptide antibiotic. PCT/GB2010/052106. Filed December 2010.
- Two additional patents filed in 2014, both now progressed to PCT
I have acted as a consultant for the following external organisations:
Omnia-Chem - 2012
SGS International - 2010
Footprint International Ltd - 2010
TrueReflections – 2009