Edinburgh Infectious Diseases
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University of Edinburgh researcher selected for new PhD Training Programme in AMR

Simone Arienti has been selected for the first ever national PhD Training Programme in Antimicrobial Resistance which was launched by the Medical Research Foundation this autumn.

The innovative research conducted by this cohort of 18 students from 16 UK universities will contribute to the ambitious aims of the UKRI-funded cross-council research consortia which is tackling AMR on a global scale.  

Antibiotics transformed healthcare in the 20th century and are still considered one of greatest medical achievements of the era. Today, we rely on antibiotics to treat life-threatening bacterial infections and to prevent infection after surgery.

However antibiotic overuse and misuse has led to antibiotics becoming increasingly ineffective and antimicrobial resistance, specifically antibiotic resistance, now poses a global threat to human life.

 Filling gap in research on antimicrobial resistance

Working alongside the  Medical Research Council, the Foundation spotted a gap in funding for PhD studentships in antimicrobial resistance research.

This new PhD Training Programme is designed to help build a strong, active network of early career researchers by bringing together those who study microbiology, genetics and medicine with social scientists, vets, dentists, ecologists, environmental biologists, anthropologists, chemists and biomedical engineers.

Simone Ariente
PhD student Simone Ariente is a member of the first cohort on a new programme funded by the Medical Research Foundation to address antimicrobial resistance.

Wide support for the new programme

Professor Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer for England who is a leading advocate on the need to address antimicrobial resistance said:

I am thrilled that the Medical Research Foundation is building on the successful work of the UK Research Councils by investing £2.85m to create the UK’s only national PhD Training Programme in Antimicrobial Resistance. Training the next generation of researchers in this area is vital and we must equip scientists with the multi-disciplinary skills needed to conduct world leading research into this global threat.”

Dr Jonathan Pearce, MRC Head of Immunity and Infections, added:

Over the past five years, in partnership with the other UKRI Councils, we’ve made huge efforts to better understand the threat of AMR and find solutions – together investing £44 million in 78 UK projects and £41 million in projects worldwide. A key aspect of recent investment has been interdisciplinarity – bringing researchers with different expertise together to look at complex problems from a different angle. The Medical Research Foundation’s AMR PhD programme is exactly the type of initiative required to develop the future cadre of interdisciplinary researchers that we need.”

 Understanding neutrophil biology

Working with Professor Adriano Rossi in the Centre for Inflammation Research, Simone’s work will focus on how the metabolism of neutrophils, white blood cells which help fight off infection, changes upon bacterial infection.

Uncontrolled neutrophilic inflammation is implicated in many disease states including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and understanding more about the mechanisms behind it could lead to more appropriate and effective treatment, a key goal in tackling AMR.

Discovering that the Medical Research Foundation (MRF) was launching this new training programme was really exciting to me. It’s a great opportunity for PhD students with completely different backgrounds but common objectives to join forces to expand our understanding of AMR.”

Simone ArienteMedical Research Foundation PhD student

Building large network of AMR-trained students

The Foundation will also reach a further 150 UK PhD students training in AMR-related research through training and network-building activities such as on-line resources, summer residential training weeks, annual AMR conferences and tailored meetings responsive to developments and opportunities relevant to the AMR field.

Related Links

Medical Research Foundation

Medical Research Council

Edinburgh AMR Research

Centre for Inflammation Research, University of Edinburgh

Rossi lab website