Infection and environmental dynamics of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and intestinal schistosomiasis in Malawi

We have a unique opportunity to build upon a recent Wellcome Trust award (Stothard) which will undertake a 2-year longitudinal population study to determine the epidemiological impact and associated host morbidity of Schistosomiasis in Malawi. 

We will use these samples from humans, animals and the environment to map AMR in bacteria, determine resistance to commonly used and last line antibiotics and characterise the mobile genetic elements responsible for their transfer. The data generated in the PhD will be supplemented with qualitative and quantitative data from the schistosomiasis study to determine if any correlation with parasitic disease can be determined and if the background, circulating AMR can be used to inform antimicrobial policy within Malawi. This project will also benefit from being aligned with the MRC funded DRUM  project (Roberts & Jewell) and will look to extend the microbiology work into the translational modelling space for human health within a One Health context along the shores of lake Malawi.

Where does the project lie on the Translational Pathway?

T1 (Basic Research) - T2 (Human/Clinical Research)

Expected Outputs

To promote new synergy with existing large-scale projects on schistosomiasis and AMR in Malawi

To generate data multiple publications and for larger-scale research projects on AMR, ecosystem health and the interface between parasitology and microbiology.

To publish novel cross-disciplinary approaches that assess aquatic ecosystems in health and disease.

Training Opportunities

Field epidemiology & multivariable statistical analyses

Molecular diagnostics & deep sequencing/bioinformatics

Microbiology, molecular biology, metagenomics and genomics.

Scientific communications & publications

Skills Required

An interest in infectious disease epidemiology, environmental microbiology and AMR

Key Publications associated with this project

Hubbard ATM, Mason J, Roberts P, et al., (2020) Piperacillin/tazobactam resistance in a clinical isolate of Escherichia coli due to IS26-mediated amplification of blaTEM-1B. Nature Communications (In Press).

Kirchhelle C, Atkinson P, Broom A, et al., (2020) SETting the Standard – multidisciplinary hallmarks for Structural, Equitable, and Tracked antibiotic policy. BMJ Global Health (In Press)

Hubbard ATM, Jafari NV, Feasey N, et al., (2019). Effect of Environment on the Evolutionary Trajectories and Growth Characteristics of Antibiotic-Resistant Escherichia coli Mutants. Front Microbiol. 2019;10:2001. Published 2019 Aug 28. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2019.02001

Kayuni SA, O'Ferrall AM, Baxter H, et al. (2020) An outbreak of intestinal schistosomiasis, alongside increasing urogenital schistosomiasis prevalence, in primary school children on the shoreline of Lake Malawi, Mangochi District, Malawi. Infect Dis Poverty. 2020;9(1):121. doi:10.1186/s40249-020-00736-w

Alharbi MH, Condemine C, Christiansen R, et al. (2019) Biomphalaria pfeifferi Snails and Intestinal Schistosomiasis, Lake Malawi, Africa, 2017-2018. Emerg Infect Dis. 25(3):613-615. doi:10.3201/eid2503.181601

Deadline: Thursday 11th February 2021; 12:00 noon GMT

Further details on the MRC/DTP and CASE programmes and application guidance and process can be found here