Accessibility statement

Antibiotic resistance - What does it mean to you and why should you care?

Wednesday 5 February 2014, 6.00PM

Speaker(s): Professor Laura Piddock, University of Birmingham


In the last year, there has been a lot written in newspapers and broadcast on television about antibiotic resistance and in March the Chief Medical Officer said that this was 'as big a threat to human health as climate change'. So what made her make this statement and is it true? If so, what does it really mean for the way we treat bacterial infections? In this talk Professor Piddock will answer these questions and illustrate with examples. She will also tell you about some of the research carried out at Birmingham on antibiotic resistance.

Laura started her research career in a clinical environment and carried out her PhD with Professor Richard Wise at City hospital, Birmingham. Since that time she has been at the forefront of antimicrobial research, and has successfully integrated this background with academic research furthering understanding of the mechanisms of antibiotic action and resistance of antibacterial drugs.

Her current research focuses on understanding mechanisms of antibiotic resistance as a basis for drug discovery and includes (1) multidrug efflux (pumping out of the bacterial cell) and regulation (switching on and off) of multidrug efflux pumps, and (2) furthering understanding of the mechanism of transfer of plasmids (mobile genetic elements) between bacteria. She also has an international track record in working on bacteria isolated from animals and humans, particularly those transmitted through the food chain.

She has been an expert advisor to the WHO on antibiotic resistance and a member of the UK Food Standards Agency Advisory Committee on the Microbiology Safety of Food.

For further information about the work of Laura's team, please see the Antimicrobials Research Group website: 

Laura has received numerous awards and is a Fellow of the Society of Biology, American Society of Microbiology and a member of the Wellcome Trust Peer Review College. Laura is also Director of Antibiotic Action– a global initiative designed to inform and educate all about the need for discovery, research and development of new treatments for bacterial infections as well as appropriate use ( She has been awarded a Chair in Public Engagement from the British Society in Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. These activities have resulted in significant recent interactions with politicians, policy makers, industry, the media and general public and allowed her to engage with broad audiences and explain issues including the use of antibiotics in animals.

Location: Ron Cooke Hub auditorium

Admission: Admission: is by free ticket only. Please book at