Dr Andy Edwards
Five minutes with Dr Andrew Edwards, Non-Clinical Lecturer in Molecular Microbiology
1. Tell us about your research in a nutshell.
We investigate how bacteria survive exposure to both host immune defences and antibiotics, with the aim of exploiting this information to develop new therapeutic approaches.
2. What impact could your research have for our industry partners?
Antibiotics underpin all areas of modern healthcare, but are becoming less effective due to the emergence of resistance. There’s also a declining manufacturing base for existing antibiotics and a problem with the economic model, which doesn’t provide sufficient return on the costs associated with discovery and development.
We hope that the development of novel, broad-spectrum therapeutic approaches will help foster academic-industry partnerships that lead to the development of clinically-useful antibacterials."
Our aim is to develop new therapeutics that can be applied to a broad range of patients, whilst also reducing the emergence of resistance. This approach could be used to enhance the activity of existing antibiotics, reducing the lead time and costs associated with developing several new classes of antibiotics. We hope that the development of novel, broad-spectrum therapeutic approaches will help foster academic-industry partnerships that lead to the development of clinically-useful antibacterials.
3. What interests you most about your field at the moment?
The whole landscape of infectious diseases is constantly evolving, with the emergence of new strains, new resistance mechanisms and new patient groups. For example, the huge increase in people with type 2 diabetes has led to increases in associated infections. Given the lead time in developing new therapeutics, we need to do more to understand the challenges that we’ll be facing in 20 years’ time and start taking action now.
4. Who/what sectors would be interested in hearing more about your research?
Antibiotics are a hugely important resource that enable many branches of medicine. For example, many chemotherapeutic approaches result in immunosuppression that can only be combatted with antibiotics. Similarly, medical devices such as IV catheters or replacement joints are frequently compromised by bacterial colonisation. Therefore, bacterial infections and antibiotic resistance aren’t just issues for companies with an Infectious Diseases portfolio, it’s an industry-wide problem and requires an integrated approach.