25 November 2020

Combating Antimicrobial-resistant Bacteria using Predatory Bdellovibrio

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Online Webinar - 16.00 – 17.00 (GMT)

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The emergence of antimicrobial-resistant (AMR) pathogens is a critical global health issue. 

In recent months the WHO has listed several Gram-negative antibiotic-resistant pathogens, some of which pose serious global health risks and require new treatments.

Professor Sockett and her team are researching the use of living predatory bacteria, such as Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus, that naturally invade and kill the Gram-negative pathogens of humans, animals and plants, to treat infections. As living non-pathogenic bacteria, Bdellovibrio predators can adapt to diverse pathogens, and have broad prey-ranges. Applying them as therapeutics brings the challenges of interfacing host immunological responses, limited viability and bodily dissemination, not seen for classical antibiotics. 

Professor Sockett’s team are evaluating Bdellovibrio predator strains as anti-pathogen agents, and working to understand their mechanisms for Gram-negative bacterial killing, which are multi-factorial. Bdellovibrio have been shown to combat Gram-negative pathogens in live poultry and food crops. Most recently, using a zebrafish hindbrain infection model, studies have revealed that injection of Bdellovibrio works alongside the immune system to clear otherwise lethal Gram-negative infections. They are now investigating how this dual effect can clear pathogens.


Liz Sockett

School of Life Sciences, University of Nottingham

Professor Liz Sockett FRS is a bacteriologist who researches and teaches at Nottingham University. Liz is a Microbiology Society Member, Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and Fellow of the Royal Society.
Her research group works on the predatory bacterium Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus with funding from Wellcome Trust, DARPA, BBSRC and Leverhulme Trust. This bacterium naturally kills Gram negative bacteria and is coming to the fore in the fight against antibiotic resistance in Gram negative pathogens.
Research interests include the application of Bdellovibrio as antibacterials to kill antibiotic resistant pathogens. Collaborating with Dr Andrew Lovering (at Birmingham University) and colleagues including Prof Waldemar Vollmer ( Newcastle University) and Dr Erkin Kuru- (formerly Indiana now Harvard University), she works on the fundamental understanding of how predatory enzymes kill Gram negative bacteria. Bdellovibrio have been researched as a solution to gram negative bacterial infections, including infections in zebrafish (working with Dr Serge Mostowy Imperial College) poultry (working with Dr Rob Atterbury, Nottingham Vet School, Laura Hobley, Nottingham Biosciences) and mushrooms. Research relevant to human infections is at a pre-clinical state, pioneered by our lab and others.

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