Grant winners – 10 September 2015

A round-up of recent recipients of research council cash

September 10, 2015
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European Research Council

Uncertainty, risk and inequality: the role of macroeconomic policies and institutions

National Institute for Health Research

Health Technology Assessment Programme

The pragmatic ischaemic thrombectomy evaluation (PISTE) trial – main phase: a randomised controlled trial of mechanical thrombectomy in acute ischaemic stroke

ALTAR: alternative to prophylactic antibiotics for the treatment of recurrent urinary tract infections in women

Public Health Research Programme

A cluster randomised controlled trial to evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the GoActive programme to increase physical activity among 13- to 14-year-old adolescents

Royal Society

Wolfson Research Merit Awards

These awards are worth £10,000-£30,000 a year, which is a salary enhancement

How does social evolution generate biodiversity?

Discrete structures and randomness

Medical Research Council

Research grants

Role of growth factors of the TGFbeta superfamily in aberrant follicle development in polycystic ovary syndrome

High resolution systems biology to determine the role of gut microbiota on Type 2 diabetes

In detail

Award winner: Alex O’Neill
Institution: University of Leeds
Value: £249,823

‘Silent’ antibiotic resistance genes: an overlooked issue of considerable importance in antibacterial chemotherapy?

Antibiotics’ utility is decreasing as bacteria evolve to resist their effects, with antibiotic resistance now considered one of the three greatest threats to human health. A crucial aspect of addressing this problem is “strategic intelligence” – having current information about the proportion, in a given location, of bacterial strains resistant to particular antibiotics. This allows doctors to decide which antibiotics are best to use routinely to treat bacterial infection, and to avoid those that will probably be ineffective owing to resistance. This project will focus on investigating the phenomenon of “silencing of antibiotic resistance by mutation” (SARM) that may be undermining strategic intelligence on antibiotic resistance. Recent work has discovered that some bacteria that are sensitive to antibiotics nonetheless carry genes normally associated with antibiotic resistance, but that these genes have become switched off (“silenced”). This is deeply concerning, as bacteria with SARM would appear susceptible to an antibiotic when tested, but could then become resistant during patient treatment. Focusing on the “superbug” Staphylococcus aureus, the project aims to investigate how widespread SARM is among bacteria and how it occurs.

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