Dr Adam Roberts

Reader, Antimicrobial Chemotherapy and Resistance

Graduated in Applied Biology from Coventry University in 1995 and with a PhD in molecular microbiology from the University of London in 2002. Worked as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Lecturer and Senior Lecturer at University College London until joining LSTM in February 2017.

His research activities focus on the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance amongst bacteria and the development of new drugs in order to treat infections. He is an advisor to the Longitude Prize and the Royal Society of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, runs The Transposon Registry and co-ordinates the JPIAMR funded Network of European and African Researchers on AMR (NEAR-AMR).


Biological consequences of acquisition of AMR within the Enterobacteriaceae; Acquisition of resistance can carry a biological cost which can reduce the fitness of the hosts. We are looking at ways of maximising this biological cost in order to minimise the persistence of resistance once a selection pressure is removed. We are aiming to be able to inform clinicians of treatment regimens which will do exactly this when multi-drug resistance occurs.

Molecular biology of mobile genetic elements; Mobile genetic elements are segments of DNA responsible for the dissemination of AMR amongst bacteria. We are working towards understanding the molecular mechanisms which govern both intra- and intercellular mobility with a translational focus of using this knowledge to prevent their spread and also use them as tools in order to reduce AMR.

Antimicrobial Drug Discovery; In order to tackle the increasing lack of available antibiotics, we need new drugs. We have a citizen science project; “Swab and Send” that aims to search for these whilst at the same time engaging public, schools and other groups about the issues surrounding AMR. We are currently working on novel environmental isolates which can produce compounds capable of inhibiting the growth of drug resistant Enterobacteriaceae and Candida albicans.

Antimicrobial Development; We are analysing the activity of novel antimicrobial compounds in order to determine their targets, mechanisms of action and the potential for resistance development in target pathogens.


Microbiology Society,
Society of Applied Microbiology,
Royal Society of Biology,
British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy.

Fellow: Higher Education Academy

Selected publications

  • MA Rahman, F Kaiser, S Jamshidi, M Freitas Monteiro, KM Rahman, P Mullany and AP Roberts (2020). Integron Gene Cassettes Harboring Novel Variants of D-Alanine-D-Alanine Ligase Confer High-level Resistance to D-Cycloserine. Scientific Reports. 10(1):20709. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-77377-4

    M Johansson; V Bortolaia; S Tansirichaiya, F Aarestrup, AP Roberts, T Petersen, (2020) Detection of Mobile Genetic Elements associated with antibiotic resistance in Salmonella enterica using a newly developed web-tool: MobileElementFinder. Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy https://doi.org/10.1093/jac/dkaa390

    ATM Hubbard, J Mason, P Roberts, C Parry, C Corless, J Aartsen, A Howard, I Bulgasim, A Fraser, E Adams, AP Roberts, and T Edwards. (2020) Piperacillin/tazobactam resistance in a clinical isolate of Escherichia coli due to IS26-mediated amplification of blaTEM-1B. Nature Communications DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-18668-2

    MSM Brouwer, RN Goodman, A Kant, D Mevius, E Newire, AP Roberts, KT Veldman, (2020) Mobile colistin resistance gene mcr-1 is detected on an IncI1 plasmid in E. coli from meat. Journal of Global Antimicrobial Resistance DOI: 10.1016/j.jgar.2020.08.018

    C Kirchhelle, P Atkinson, A Broom, K Chuengsatiansup, JP Ferreira, N Fortané, I Frost, C Gradmann, S Hinchliffe, SJ Hoffman, J Lezaun, S Nayiga, K Outterson, SH Podolsky, S Raymond, AP Roberts, SR van Katwyk, AC Singer, AD So, L Sringernyuang, E Tayler, CIR Chandler (2020) SETting the Standard – multidisciplinary hallmarks for Structural, Equitable, and Tracked antibiotic policy. BMJ Global Health 5:e003091. DOI; 10.1136/bmjgh-2020-003091

    Singer AC, Kirchhelle C, Roberts AP (2020) (Inter)nationalising the antibiotic research and development pipeline. Lancet Infectious Diseases.  20(2):PE54-E62 DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/S1473-3099(19)30552-3

    S Tansirichaiya, S Moyo, M Al-Haroni, AP Roberts (2020) Capture of a Novel, Antibiotic Resistance Encoding, Mobile Genetic Element from Escherichia coli Using a New Entrapment Vector. Journal of Applied Microbiology. https://doi.org/10.1111/jam.14837

    SJ Moyo, J Manyahi, B Blomberg, MG Tellevik, NS Masoud, S Aboud, K Manji, AP Roberts, K Hanevik, K Mørch, N Langeland. (2020) Bacteraemia, malaria and case fatality among children hospitalised with severe blood stream infection in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Frontiers in Microbiology https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2020.02118.

    J Botelho, J Mourão, AP Roberts, L Peixe (2020) Comprehensive genome data analysis establishes a triple whammy of carbapenemases, ICEs and multiple clinically-relevant bacteria. Microbial Genomics https://doi.org/10.1099/mgen.0.000424

    E Newire, A Aydin, S Juma, VI Enne, AP Roberts (2020) Identification of a Type IV-A CRISPR-Cas system located exclusively on IncHI1B/ IncFIB plasmids in Enterobacteriaceae. Frontiers in Microbiology https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2020.01937

    ATM Hubbard, I Bulgasim, AP Roberts (2020) A novel hemA mutation is responsible for small colony variant phenotype in Escherichia coliMicrobiology. https://doi.org/10.1099/mic.0.000962

    E Nikolaou, ATM Hubbard, J Botelho, TAM Marschall, DM Ferreira AP Roberts. (2020) Antibiotic resistance is associated with ICEs and genomic islands in naturally circulating Streptococcus pneumoniae isolates from adults in Liverpool, UK. Genes11, 625; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11060625.

    LJ Reynolds, MF Anjum, AP Roberts (2020) Detection of a novel, and likely ancestral, Tn916-like element from a human saliva metagenomic library. Genes. 11, 548; doi:10.3390/genes11050548.

    A Hughes-Games, AP Roberts, SA Davis, DJ Hill (2020) Identification of integrative and conjugative elements in pathogenic and commensal Neisseriaceae spp. via genomic distributions of DNA uptake sequence dialects. Microbial Genomics. doi:10.1099/mgen.0.000372.

    P Yu, J-N Yang, J-W Yan, Z Meng, WD Hong, AP Roberts, SA Ward, L Zhang, S Li. (2020) A novel fluorescent probe for the detection of AmpC beta-lactamase and the application in screening beta-lactamase inhibitors. Spectrochimica Acta Part A: Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy. doi.org/10.1016/j.saa.2020.118257.

    S Feng, Y Liu, W Liang, MAEGE Ahmed, Z Zhao, C Shen, AP Roberts, L Liang, L Liao, Z Zhong, Z Guo, Y Yang, X Wen, H Chen, G Tian (2020) Involvement of transcription elongation factor GreA in Mycobacterium tuberculosis viability, antibiotic susceptibility, and intracellular fitness. Frontiers in Microbiology doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2020.00413.

    ATM Hubbard, E Newire, J Botelho, J Reiné, E Wright, EA Murphy, W Hutton, AP Roberts (2020) Isolation of an antimicrobial-resistant, biofilm-forming, Klebsiella grimontii isolate from a reusable water bottle. Microbiology Open doi.org/10.1002/mbo3.1023

    N Almebairik, R Zamudio, C Ironside, JD Ralph, AP Roberts, IM Gould, JA Morrissey, K Hijazi MR Oggioni (2020) Genomic stability of composite SCCmec COMER-like and ACME genetic elements in Staphylococcus epidermidis correlates with rate of excision. Frontiers in Microbiology. doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2020.00166