Young researchers win awards for innovation

Two young researchers at the University of Exeter Medical School have been awarded prestigious Industrial Innovation Fellowships by the National Environment Research Council (NERC) for their work on antibiotic resistance and our natural environment.

In World Antibiotic Awareness Week this week, Dr Anne Leonard and Dr Aimee Murray have received awards to carry out innovative studies into antibiotic resistance – widely recognised as one of the greatest health challenges of our time.

Many bacteria are becoming resistant to commonly prescribed antibiotics, threatening our ability to treat common infectious dis- eases such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, blood poisoning, gonorrhoea, and food and waterborne diseases.

The Industrial Innovation Fellowship Programme is run by NERC through Research Councils UK, and is supported by the National Productivity Investment Fund.

It targets the best and brightest early career researchers who have the potential to become future research leaders at the interface of academia and industry.

Dr Leonard is investigating the pollution sources which con- tribute to the release of antibiotic resistant bacteria in bathing waters.

Dr Murray is focusing on developing a test to assess whether antibiotic residues in water, from human and animal excretion, drive the evolution of antibiotic resistance – the first test of its kind. The researchers are all part of the Medical School’s European Centre for Environment and Human Health, based in Cornwall.

This article first appeared in the Independent. To get the latest articles when they appear, buy the print edition every Sunday or subscribe to our online edition HERE.