AMR Testing & Surveillance Facilty

The Centre to Impact AMR welcomes Joshua Nickson as the latest member of the Centre. Josh has been brought on board to manage our pre-clinical capabilities under the supervision of Thomas Naderer adding to our AMR capabilities.

Stage 1: Getting the Methodologies right

2020 was a challenging year on many different levels and in many different ways for us all.   As a new research Centre, launched in February, we wondered how much could be achieved in a year such as this.

To the credit of the leadership from Chris Greening,  he and his team successfully set up a range of state-of-the-art methodologies that can test (for example) new compounds for antimicrobial activity against a range of in-house libraries of pathogens.

This kind of service greatly supports the activities within the Centre, for those without the microbiological expertise or the right agreements to use these types of pathogens.

Stage 2:  Taking on and completing projects as proof of concept

The R&D testing and surveillance team have recently completed a thorough pilot study of ARG's (antimicrobial resistance genes) that are present across different potential reservoirs in Melbourne (spanning wastewater, animal scats, agricultural sludge, meat, park waters, park soils, constructed wetlands, river, beaches). This program will bring much-needed insight into what type of antimicrobial resistance genes are out there,  and whether they have the potential to cause serious problems from a health perspective.

There has been a large amount of work completed to optimise protocols for testing antimicrobial compounds, surfaces, and devices against 12 bacterial pathogens (seven Gram-negatives, four Gram-positives, one fungus). The growth conditions for each of the globally significant pathogens was a huge task, but once again the team has done a lot of problem-solving to now be able to offer this service.

The deep level of genomic expertise in this team has been applied use hybrid assemblies of deep short-read and long-read metagenomic data to gain unparalleled insights into the extent and sources of AMR in both pristine and human-impact habitats.  The impact of this data once published will greatly advance the field of AMR with respect to One Health  Priority areas.