Evolutionary Trajectories of resistance

The evolutionary pathways to antibiotic resistance and their overall effects on the fitness of the bacteria are varied. They also depend largely on the antibiotic pressure at the time of selection. We will explore how our target bacteria evolve through a combination of molecular and culture-based microbiology.

Evolution of antibiotic resistance and bacterial fitness

Bacterial fitness is the ability of bacteria to grow, with more fit strains being able to grow better. When combinations of resistances emerge, due to the sequential or combinatorial exposure to different antibiotics, these evolutionary pathways can interact in unusual ways resulting in phenotypes which we want to avoid such as multi-drug resistance in bacteria, which are also as fit as their susceptible ancestors.

Exploring how our target bacteria evolve in response to antibiotics

Within this project, we will use a combination of molecular and microbiology to determine how our target bacteria evolve in response to different antibiotics.

This will allow us to determine if the antibiotics commonly used in Uganda and Malawi:

  • promote the emergence and persistence of fit, multi-drug resistant strains
  • and if there is a case for the introduction of different antibiotics or a change in the prescribing practice to avoid this.