Resistant bacteria

Antimicrobial agents and microbial ecology

The ultimate objective of our research is to develop new therapies that will reduce the use of conventional antimicrobial agents and limit the development of antimicrobial resistance.

We use a combination of microbial experimental evolution techniques, systems biology and advanced microscopy to study, how microbes and microbial communities interact and react to exposure to antimicrobial therapy.

Antibiotics are one of the greatest scientific discoveries made in the last century, and antibiotics have contributed significantly to longer human lives as well as improved the health of both humans and animals. Antibiotics have also been used extensively as growth promoters in livestock farming and for the treatment, control, and prevention of infectious diseases.

Resistance and modified ecology

Unfortunately, the widespread use of antimicrobial agents for treatment of diseases and as growth promoters in animal farming has accelerated the emergence and spread of antibiotic resistant organisms, which render many of the traditional antimicrobial agents ineffective.

It is also likely that the increased prevalence of antimicrobial agents is changing the microbial ecology in both humans and livestock, but very little is known about the processes and mechanisms behind these changes. Even less is known about how these changes will affect the appearance and character of new infectious diseases and the spread of antimicrobial resistance.

New antimicrobials and antimicrobial therapies

We see an urgent need to develop new therapeutic strategies and approaches grounded on basic research and profound understanding of the underlying mechanisms of resistance. On order to do that, one of our strategies is to predict and model exactly how antimicrobial agents affect  the interaction between the microorganisms and their host.

We want to develop new antimicrobial agents and antimicrobial treatments, which are complex in their mode of action and may, therefore, decrease the frequency of resistance development without reducing the efficacy of the antimicrobial agent by requiring many changes in physiology of microbe.

Alternative treatments

We also investigate the combined effect of multiple antimicrobial agents, which can be used as alternative therapies to antibiotics, while also examining how combination therapies affect the development of resistance.

In addition, we investigate how natural and artificial communities of several species of microorganisms evolve, and how the host’s gut microbiota is affected by disturbances such as antibiotics and zinc. Finally, we develop new methods in which these model systems can be studied.

Associate Professor

Anders Folkesson
Associate Professor
DTU Bioengineering
+45 35 88 63 11
18 OCTOBER 2018