Microbiology themes

Antimicrobial resistance and drug discovery

Antimicrobial resistance

The ability to prevent, treat and cure infectious diseases with antimicrobial drugs is being undermined by the rapid rise of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in pathogenic microbes. AMR now constitutes one of the greatest threats to global human health, expected to kill 300 million people worldwide and overtake cancer as a cause of death by 2050. Our research seeks to understand in molecular detail the mechanisms by which microbes resist the effect of antimicrobial drugs, and to devise innovative solutions to prevent and treat infections caused by multidrug resistant pathogens. We bring the full weight of the School’s expertise in molecular and structural biology to bear on elucidating the mechanisms of AMR in bacteria and viruses, from defining the genetic determinants responsible through to understanding the biochemical and structural features of resistance mechanisms.

We harness this growing mechanistic appreciation of AMR (‘forewarned is forearmed’) in our pursuit of the next generation of antimicrobial therapeutics through a variety of means. These include the identification of new targets for therapeutic intervention, the discovery of novel natural product antibiotics from soil microorganisms, the design of synthetic inhibitors capable of inhibiting specific functions in microbes, and the evolution of artificial antibodies as potential therapeutics.

View a list of academics in Antimicrobial resistance and Drug Discovery

View a list of postdoctoral researchers in Antimicrobial Resistance and Drug Discovery

View a list of PhD students in Antimicrobial Resistance and Drug Discovery

Key Researchers Areas of expertise
Dr Thomas Edwards
Associate Professor
Structural biology of proteins that mediate antibiotic resistance such as the Fusidic acid resistance determinant FusB and related proteins; antibiotics that target bacterial ribosomes; X-ray, EM, NMR
Dr Kenneth McDowall
Senior Lecturer


Professor Mike McPherson
Professor of Biomolecular Engineering

Development of Affimer proteins for use in point-of-care biosensors for bacterial versus viral infections to reduce antibiotic prescribing

Dr Alex O'Neill
Associate Professor

Antibiotic resistance mechanisms and antibacterial drug discovery

Professor Sheena Radford
Astbury Professor of Biophysics

Structural and molecular investigations into outer membrane assembly in Gram negative bacteria

Professor Neil Ranson
Professor of Structural Molecular Biology

Structural studies into outer membrane biogenesis in Gram negative bacteria

Dr Ryan Seipke
Lecturer in Molecular Microbiology


Dr Darren Tommlinson
Associate Professor
Using protein engineering and phage display to isolate biomolecules (Affimer reagents) for binding to targets for diagnostics and studying protein function
Professor Adrian Whitehouse
Professor of Molecular Virology
Structural-based drug design approaches to inhibit oncogenic viruses