Antibiotic Research UK and LIVE with Scientists teamed up for an interactive Antibiotic Resistance webinar earlier this month. The sell-out online event brought secondary school- and college-age students a fantastic insight into the work of PhD scientists investigating antibiotic resistance.
The LIVE with Scientists programme is an online platform that hosts live science talks and interviews. It aims to provide equal access to science for everyone. On 9 March, 140 students from the UK and overseas tuned in to hear scientists Jess Buddle and Rosie Clover talk about their research into antibiotic-resistant infections. Antibiotic Research UK is proud to have sponsored this dynamic session featuring polls, a quiz (with prizes) and the opportunity for the students to ask questions. The recorded version has been viewed almost 200 times; watch it here.
The featured scientists and their work
Jess is a first year PhD student at University of Sheffield and a microbiologist. She talked about her research into a bacterial infection caused by Clostridium difficile, or ‘C. diff’. Her talk “How to kill a difficult superbug” included a great introduction to antibiotic resistance. She went on to explain the paradox of antibiotics being both the cause of and treatment for C. diff infections. Jess then shared how she is working to preserve one of our last remaining antibiotics that works against this bacteria.
Rosie is also a microbiologist, and is in her second year as a PhD student at the University of Manchester. Her talk, The Cost of Antibiotic Resistance, was all about multi-drug resistance and Escherichia coli, or E. coli. This bacteria is well known for causing stomach bugs, but also causes urinary tract infections (UTI), and bloodstream infections. Rosie explained the significance of hospital-acquired antibiotic-resistant infections and of proper antibiotic stewardship. Her research findings show that while developing resistance to an antibiotic does reduce the ability of the bacteria to grow, acquiring further resistance (to other antibiotics) does not have as much of an impact.
The questions from viewers were very insightful and suggested an impressive degree of existing knowledge. Topics such as phages, disease transmission, public health approaches, reversing resistance, clinical approaches, antibiotics in the livestock industry, prebiotics and probiotics were all covered in the Q&A.
Dr Roger Harrison, Director of University Manchester’s Antibiotic Campaign and one of our Education Committee Members said: “It’s fantastic to see these partnerships develop. Antibiotic resistance needs action at all levels, from local to global, and this engaging event certainly made an impact. I just wonder who won the prize!”
Why education is so important
While research into alternative treatments and ways of overcoming resistance is crucial, raising awareness of antibiotic resistance is also vitally important. Proper antibiotic stewardship helps us save these precious medicines for when they are really needed. The more the public and students understand and care about the issue, the greater the impact they can have.
It’s also essential that we highlight how interesting and rewarding a career in this field can be. Professor Bond, our Education Committee Chair, said: “Antibiotic Research UK was delighted to sponsor this LIVE with Scientists event. It was inspirational to see how all the students engaged with this issue of antibiotic resistance, and recognised the threat it poses to us all.”
What can you do?
If you have a new-found appreciation for the scale of the threat posed by antibiotic-resistant infection, there’s lots you can do to help. Find out how you can help to prevent the rise of resistance, and please consider making a donation to help us save modern medicine.
If you would like to find out more about the topics covered in these talks, our website includes more information:
- Bacterial infections
- Antibiotic resistance
- Antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the healthcare industry
Sign up to our newsletter to stay up-to-date with the latest news.