Microbiology Society Fleming Prize 2017: Professor Stephen Baker

Posted on June 19, 2017   by Dr Freya Harrison

Earlier this year, Professor Stephen Baker from the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit (OUCRU) in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, was awarded the Microbiology Society’s Fleming Prize at our Annual Conference. In this post, Dr Freya Harrison gives us an overview of the talk, entitled ‘The collateral damage of antimicrobial access in Asia’. You can watch the full lecture below.

© Stephen Baker

Antimicrobial resistance is a clear and present danger to human health around the world, but in some parts of Southeast Asia the unregulated sale of antibiotics has led to especially rapid and widespread evolution of resistance to many commonly used drugs.

In this talk, Professor Stephen Baker explains how the development of genetic sequencing technologies has drastically increased our ability to reconstruct and explore patterns of resistance evolution. By combining sequence-based analysis with clinical studies, public health data and basic lab microbiology, Stephen and his collaborators are beginning to build an integrated picture of how pathogens, people and resistance genes move and interact.

This research strongly suggests that guidelines for the treatment of important and life-threatening infections need to be changed in the face of dominant, resistant bacterial strains. It also raises important questions about what really happens to the bacterial populations inside us when we take an antibiotic.

Freya is an Assistant Professor at the University of Warwick and a member of the Microbiology Society’s Communications Committee