Monash scientists to investigate new approaches to detect drug resistant superbugs

The Victorian Government through its Medical Research Acceleration Fund has awarded Monash researchers $92,500 to develop technologies to detect drug resistant superbugs. Resistance to antimicrobial drugs is a critical issue in medicine with the rise of so-called ‘superbugs’.

“Our aim is to use novel approaches to detect antimicrobial resistant markers and explore the potential for rapid detection,” said Associate Professor Bayden Wood, from the Monash School of Chemistry. Associate Professor Wood is also the co-director of the Monash-based Centre for Biospectroscopy.

“This will lead to the improved use of existing antimicrobials through timely selection of effective treatments, reducing mortality and morbidity,” he said.

“The expected outcomes of this project will lead to a better understanding of the molecular basis of drug resistant 'superbugs', a critical step in health disease and prevention strategies,” said project CI Professor Anton Peleg, Director of the Department of Infectious Diseases at the Alfred Hospital and Central Clinical School, Monash University, and Head of an Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) research group in the Biomedicine Discovery Institute, Monash University.

The researchers intend to define molecular markers of Antimicrobial Resistant (AMR) Phenotypes that relate to genetic markers, and explore the potential for rapid, point-of-care detection for antimicrobial resistance.

“Our advanced ability to test for resistant bacterial strains in patients will assist in the prevention, detection and containment of AMR,” said fellow project CI Dr Philip Heraud, the Co-Director of the Monash Centre for Biospectroscopy.

“It will enable the epidemiological tracking of disease and improved monitoring of the emergence of health threats,” he said.

The Victorian Medical Research Acceleration Fund is an initiative under Victoria's Health and Medical Research Strategy 2016-2020. The Fund provides $3 million per annum to help address current market gaps and deliver rewards for research.

Funding for 30 research projects was announced earlier this week by the Victorian Minister for Health, Jill Hennessy.

“Victoria is home to some of the world’s brightest medical minds who are saving lives with their ground-breaking discoveries, Ms Hennessy said.

The $92,500 awarded to Monash researchers will be matched by Biotech Resources.

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