The Swedish Research Council provides 25 MSEK over 6 years for research on the environmental dimensions of antibiotic resistance at CARe
Having CARe as a base has been very valuable in laying the foundation for the research environment that is now receiving long-term, strategic support, says Joakim Larsson, principal investigator.
Increasing antibiotic resistance poses a serious threat to much of our modern health care systems. For this reason, the Swedish Research Council is undertaking a special initiative in the field of “infection and antibiotics.”
“The overall purpose of the research for which we are now receiving support is to bring together expertise from various disciplines to better understand the environment’s role in the development and spread of antibiotic resistance, how human activities are driving these processes and how to best create incentives for effective measures,” Joakim Larsson says.
“Resistance genes jump among bacterial species, and in turn bacteria move between humans, animals and the external environment. That underscores the importance of understanding and managing these processes also outside the traditional clinical domains of to limit the development of resistance in the most effective way,” Larsson explains.
Joakim Larsson, Director at CARe
Mobile resistance genes
Part of the project involves exploring the “reservoir” of resistance genes that are present in many harmless environmental bacteria but risk ending up in those that cause disease.
“Most resistance genes among bacteria in the external environment are chromosomal, which makes them rather immobile. We have developed methods to find resistance genes that have become mobile under selective pressure from antibiotics, and thereby already have taken a step on the road to clinically relevant species,” says Larsson.
Jan-Ingvar Jönsson, Secretary General of Medicine and Health at the Swedish Research Council, comments on the initiative:
"We are very pleased to support the interdisciplinary research environment with contributions from the National Research Program in Antibiotics Resistance, which is a special strategic initiative in the field from the government.”
Several research teams at the university are part of the new research environment now being supported by the Swedish Research Council. In addition to Professor Joakim Larsson who leads the work, participants include Associate Professor Carl-Fredrik Flach, who also works at the Institute of Biomedicine; Professor Christian Munthe, Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science; Professor Erik Kristiansson, Department of Mathematical Sciences, Chalmers University of Technology; Associate Professor Jerker Fick, Department of Chemistry, Umeå University; Professor Ramanan Laxminarayan, Princeton University in the United States; and numerous younger researchers and doctoral students working in the various teams.
Link to Joakim Larsson’s home page: https://biomedicine.gu.se/ominst/avd/infektion/forskare/Joakim_Larsson
Link to CARe’s home page: www.care.gu.se
Link to SRC’s grant decision (in Swedish): https://www.vr.se/utlysningar-och-beslut/beslut-om-bidrag/beslut/2018-09-06-bidrag-till-forskningsmiljo-inom-infektion-och-antibiotika.html
TEXT: ELIN LINDSTRÖM CLAESSEN/KRISTIAN KVINT
PHOTO: JOHAN WINGBORG