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Professor Matthew B AvisonB.Sc.(HONS), Ph.D.

Professor of Molecular Bacteriology

Matthew Avison

Professor Matthew B AvisonB.Sc.(HONS), Ph.D.

Professor of Molecular Bacteriology

Member of

Research interests

I lead a research group studying antimicrobial drug resistance (AMR) in bacteria. We use molecular genetics, biochemistry and functional genomics techniques to identify and characterise AMR mechanisms in key human pathogens, their mobilisation, and their control. We then use this information to combat the problem of AMR by developing interdisciplinary research collaborations. 

Our current basic work aims to characterize multi-drug resistance mechanisms in non-fermenting Gram-negative bacteria, particularly Stenotrophomonas maltophilia (e.g. Calvopiñet al., (2018) Antimicrob Agents Chemother) and Enterobacteriaceae, particularly Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae (e.g. Jimenez-Castellanos et al., (2018) J Antimicrob Chemother, Wan nur Ismah et al., (2018) J Antimicrob Chemother).

We are collaborating with chemists and structural biologists to develop β-lactamase inhibitors (e.g. Brem et al., (2014) Nature Chemistry; Brem et al., (2016) Nature Communications ; Calvopiña et al., (2017) Molecular Microbiology; Cahill et al., (2019) Biochim Biophys Acta), chemical modifications that increase the entry of antibiotics into Gram negative bacteria (e.g. Calvopiña et al., (2016) Antimicrob Agents Chemother) and ways of reversing fluoroquinolone resistance by inhibiting DNA repair (e.g. Wilkinson et al., (2016) eLife). We are also part of Bristol University's "Silent Pharmacy" consortium led by Dr Andy Bailey (Biological Sciences) and are working in collaboration with chemists, biochemists and mycologists to identify novel antibiotics from fungi.

We have pioneered proteomics-based technologies for the identification of AMR proteins in clinical samples and we are pioneering the use of proteomics to improve the ability of whole genome sequencing to predict antimicrobial susceptiblity (e.g. Wan Nur Ismah et al., (2018) Antimicrob Agents Chemother). We have helped investigate the potential for sensing AMR via volotile profiling (e.g. Smart et al., (2019) J Pharm Biomed Anal). We are also involved in a project led by Physicist Dr Massimo Antognozzi (University of Bristol) to develop novel sensors that can rapidly determine antimicrobial susceptibility in individual bacteria from clinical samples. This project was a recipient of the global Longitude Prize Discovery Award in 2017 and has spun out a company, Vitamica Ltd. 

We lead the One Health Selection and Transmission of Antimicrobial Resistance (OH-STAR) consortium. Working with ID and Micro Consultants at North Bristol and University Hospitals Bristol NHS Trusts, we are using whole genome sequencing to survey urinary E. coli and all Gram-negatives from bloodstream infection (e.g. Findlay et al., (2019) J Antimicrob Chemother). Our aims include monitoring ecological shifts resulting from local prescribing policy changes, and informing empiric prescribing and IV/Oral switch for sepsis. In collaboration with a teams led by Prof Alastair Hay (Population Health Sciences) and Dr Kristen Reyher (Bristol Vet School), we aim to: (1) identify whether antibiotic usage reduction by GPs and on dairy farms reduces AMR prevalence in humans and cattle, respectively; (2) to define the environmental and management factors that influence acquisition and selection of AMR in dairy cattle and in dogs and (3) to identify whether AMR bacteria from these animals impacts on AMR in human infections

We lead the One Health Drivers of Antibacterial Resistance in Thailand (OH-DART) consortium. Working with colleagues at the Universities of Exeter and Bath, Mahidol University, Chulabhorn Research Institute and the NERC Center for Ecology and Hydrology, our consortium's aim is to define and prioritise the drivers of antibacterial drug resistance in humans in the community in Thailand taking a multi-disciplinary approach.

We also contribute to the FARMS-SAFE consortium led by Dr Kristen Reyher (Bristol Vet School) to survey AMR and antimicrobial usage and identify the drivers of AMR in Argentinian farming systems.

As well as directing these core research activities, I lead the Bristol AMR interdisciplinary research network, funded by the Wellcome Trust, which aims to promote, facilitate and bring together AMR research from across the University of Bristol, reaching into all six of our faculties.

I lead the NERC funded "AMR in the real world" programme integration group, which aims to bring together and find synergy between all 13 research projects funded under the research council AMR theme 3 call.

I am PI and Academic Lead for the Medical Research Foundation-funded National PhD Training Programme in AMR Research, which will provide 31 fully-funded 4-year, interdisciplinary PhD studentships and will fund cohort building and knowledge exchange events for up to 175 additional PhD students working on AMR related projects from all disciplines and all UK institutions.

Current Grant Funding

  • 10/19-10/22: MRC. £250k (CoI)
  • 08/19-06/22: BBSRC/DoHSC. £1m (CoI)
  • 11/18-11/19: BSAVA. £35k (CoI)
  • 07/18-07/20: Wellcome Trust. £110k (PI)
  • 05/18-05/21: MRC/DoHSC. £2.9m (PI)
  • 10/17-02/24: Medical Research Foundation. £4m (PI)
  • 10/16-01/21: NERC/BBSRC/MRC. £1.5m (PI)
  • 09/16-09/20: MRC/BBSRC/EPSRC. £1.8m (CoI)

Research Team

  • Maryam Alzayn, BSc (Tabuk), MSc (Bangor) - PhD Student
  • Phoebe Cheung, BSc (Imperial), MRes (Bristol) - PhD Student
  • Punyawee Dulyayangkul, BSc (Mahidol), PhD (CRI, Bangkok) - Research Associate (MRC Funded)
  • Jacqueline Findlay, BSc, PhD (Edinburgh) - Research Associate (BBSRC Funded)
  • Josh Kennils, BVSc (Bristol), MRCVS - MRes Student
  • Winnie Lee, BSc (Herts), MRes (Imperial) - PhD Student
  • Beatriz Llamazares, BVSc (Leon), MSc (Copenhagen), MRCVS - PhD Student
  • Olly Mounsey, BSc, MRes (Bristol) - Technician (BBSRC Funded)
  • Katy Morley, RVN (RCVS), BSc (Bristol) - Technician (NERC Funded)
  • Kanasanun Phonrat, BSc (PSU, Thailand), MSc (Bristol) - PhD Student
  • Tia Salter, BSc (Imperial) - PhD Student
  • Naphat Satapoomin, BSc (Newcastle) - PhD Student
  • Hannah Schubert, MA, VetMB (Cambridge), MRCVS - Senior Research Associate (NERC Funded)
  • Jordan Sealey, BSc (Oxford Brooks), MSc (LSTM) - PhD Student
  • Emma Wright, BVMS (Nottingham) - MRes Student 
  • Appointed - Senior Research Associate (MRC Funded)
  • Shortlisting - Temporary Lecturer (UoB/MRC Funded)
  • TBA - Senior Research Associate (MRC Funded)
  • TBA - Research Associate (BBSRC Funded)

Project Management Team

  • Dr Ginny Gould. OH-STAR & OH-DART Project Manager (NERC/MRC/DoHSC Funded)
  • Mrs Pei-Si Hayes. Bristol AMR Administrator (Wellcome Trust Funded)
  • Mrs Esther Kissane-Webb. AMR PhD Programme Administrator (MRF Funded)
  • Dr Claire Spreadbury. AMR PhD Programme Manager (MRF Funded)
  • Mr Carlos Ayala - FARMS-SAFE Project Manager (DoHSC Funded)

 Collaborators

  • Dr Jim Spencer (CMM)
  • Dr Kate Heesom (Bristol Proteomics Facility)
  • Prof Ian Collinson (Biochemistry)
  • Dr Andy Bailey (Biological Sciences)
  • Dr Kristen Reyher, MRCVS (Bristol Vet School)
  • Prof David Barrett, FRCVS (Bristol Vet School)
  • Dr Tristan Cogan (Bristol Vet School)
  • Dr Katy Turner (Bristol Vet School)
  • Prof Andrew Dowsey (Bristol Vet School)
  • Dr Maria Escobar (Bristol Vet School)
  • Ms Christina Maunder, MRCVS (Langford Veterinary Services)
  • Ms Marta Costa, FRCPath, MRCVS (Langford Veterinary Services)
  • Rob Arbon (Jean Golding Institute, University of Bristol)
  • Prof Alastair Hay, MRCGP (Population Health Sciences)
  • Prof Helen Lambert (Population Health Sciences)
  • Dr Ashley Hammond (Population Health Sciences)
  • Dr Massimo Antognozzi (Physics)
  • Prof Chris Schofield, FRS (University of Oxford)
  • Prof Alasdair MacGowan FRCPath (Southmead Hospital)
  • Dr Martin Williams FRCPath (Bristol Royal Infirmary)
  • Dr Philip Williams FRCPath (Bristol Royal Infirmary)
  • Prof Skorn Mongkolsuk (Chulabhorn Research Institute)
  • Prof Visanu Thamlikitkul (Siriraj Hospital, Bangkok)
  • Dr Parntep Ratanakorn (Mahidol University)
  • Dr Walasinee Sakcamduan (Mahidol University)
  • Dr Luechai Sringernyuang (Mahidol University)
  • Dr Aronrag Meeyai (Mahidol University)
  • Prof Henry Buller (University of Exeter)
  • Dr Emma Pitchforth (University of Exeter)
  • Prof Will Gaze (University of Exeter)
  • Dr Andrew Singer (NERC, Center for Ecology & Hydrology)
  • Prof Ed Feil (University of Bath)

View research connections

Postal address:
Biomedical Sciences Building
University Walk
Clifton
Bristol
United Kingdom