LSTM researcher receives Academy of Medical Sciences Springboard Award for a project investigating drug resistance in E. Coli

News article 22 Mar 2024

The Academy of Medical Sciences (AMS) has awarded £125,000 to Dr Thomas Edwards at Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) to support his research into mechanisms of antibiotic resistance in Escherichia coli.

The award will support Dr Edwards' work investigating how the replication of antimicrobial resistance genes in E. coli can lead to the emergence of resistance to new drug combinations that pair an antibiotic with a resistance inhibitor.

Earlier research by the lab has demonstrated the emergence of this resistance phenotype in clinical isolates, Dr Edward’s project will build on those findings by discovering how this process happens, and why it only occurs in certain E. coli strains.

Dr Edwards received the funding as part of the AMS Springboard Scheme, which helps newly independent biomedical scientists launch their research careers.

Dr Edwards said: "It's a huge honour to have received this award, which will help support vital research into an increasingly important resistance mechanism occurring in E. Coli, a major source of infection in hospitals around the world”.

"By understanding what governs the emergence of this resistance phenotype we hope we can improve the prediction of resistance from sequencing data, develop new clinical diagnostics, and potentially guide therapeutic regimens to prevent this occurring."

The Academy of Medical Sciences has awarded over £6.6 million to 54 'exceptional' biomedical and health researchers through the Springboard scheme. Projects funded this year will advance understanding across a diverse range of health areas, including cancer, antimicrobial resistance, musculoskeletal conditions, and mental health. 

Professor James Naismith FMedSci, Vice-President (Non-Clinical) at the Academy of Medical Sciences, said: "Scientists face immense challenges as they begin their careers, and the Academy recognises the hurdles early career researchers must navigate as they establish themselves, which is why initiatives like Springboard are vital. Through this unique programme, we are extremely pleased to support 54 exceptional scientists with our largest-ever round of funding.  

"The Academy, together with our partners, is committed to cultivating the next generation of biomedical research leaders and ensuring they have the resources and support necessary to realise their immense potential. By providing substantial financial backing and access to invaluable career development opportunities at this critical stage, we can enable talented researchers to deliver breakthroughs and innovations to improve human health." 

The Springboard programme is supported by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT), Wellcome, British Heart Foundation and Diabetes UK. Applications for the next Springboard round from applicants based at eligible institutions will open in spring 2024.