Centre for Synthetic Biology and the Bioeconomy

Past Seminars

Antibiotic resistance transmission and dissemination in rural and urban India

Professor David Graham, Professor of Ecosystems Engineering, School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences

Date/Time: 16th May 2017, 13:00 - 14:00

Venue: Level 2 meeting room, CBCB, Baddiley-Clark Building

CSBB Research Seminar

Professor David Graham, Professor of Ecosystems Engineering, School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences 

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is one of the major challenges to global health security. To date, most AMR research has focused on clinical settings, whereas less is known about the flow of AMR across the natural environment. Acquired AMR is primarily caused by antibiotic use in human and veterinary medicine, but growing evidence show faecal releases to the environment also drive AMR dissemination, especially in emerging countries. Waste-mediated AMR is evident on every continent, but it is most pronounced where waste management is inconsistent and clean water is less available. India is one place where relationships among antibiotic use, low water quality and higher environmental AMR appear strong. For example, extreme differences in water quality exist between pristine rural locations (e.g., the Upper Ganges) and urban surface waters (e.g., in New Delhi). Such differences provide a gradient for AMR dissemination, but also an opportunity to understand drivers of AMR spread at different scales. As a consequence, we have quantified AMR levels (both resistance genes and bacteria) since 2012 in the Upper Ganges and also in surface waters across Delhi. This presentation focuses on the transport and levels of blaNDM-1 (a gene that codes for extreme multi-resistance), integron-associated genes, and NDM-1-positive presumptive faecal bacteria. Differences in blaNDM-1 and integron levels were be summarised according to location (pristine versus urban), seasonality, human migrations, and possible AMR sources. Locations of greatest human exposure will be flagged, including pathways and possible solutions.  
Prof David W Graham, Professor of Ecosystems Engineering at Newcastle University, performs applied and fundamental research in engineering, ecology, molecular microbiology, and public health. He obtained BASc and MASc degrees in Civil Engineering (University of British Columbia) and, after eight years in industry, obtained his PhD in Environmental Engineering from the University of Arizona. Graham was a professor at the University of Kansas for 12 years where he studied relationships between agrochemical use, and water, soil and food quality, including the fate of AMR bacteria and genes. His work has now expanded to general causes of globally increasing acquired AMR, including field projects in India, China, Europe and Latin America. His current interest is developing AMR mitigation strategies, including novel treatment technologies, for the emerging and developing world. Graham recently was expert advisor to US Presidential Council on Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria on One Health policy; has ~130 manuscripts in print; many UK and international projects; and has had international media coverage on Indian, USA, and Swiss TV. He is External Examiner for Civil Engineering MSc Programmes at the University of Hong Kong and is Adjunct Professor at IIT, Delhi.

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