Dr Alsion Mather
Dr Alison Mather has been recognised at the Medical Research Foundation’s third annual Emerging Leaders Prize, that celebrates outstanding scientists who are making a significant impact in the fight against antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
Antibiotics transformed healthcare in the 20th Century and are still considered one of the great medical achievements of the era but overuse and misuse are rapidly reducing their effectiveness.
Drug-resistant infections are estimated to cause 700,000 deaths each year globally. Without urgent action now that figure is predicted to rise to 10 million by 2050, alongside a cumulative cost of $100 trillion, and will threaten our ability to treat common infections or carry out routine medical procedures.
Dr Mather is a Group Leader and Food Standards Agency Fellow at the Quadram Institute, where she studies the evolution, origins and transmission of AMR and bacterial pathogens. Dr Mather takes a ‘One Health’ approach to AMR, using genomics to identify the contributions of humans, animals, food and the environment to the burden of AMR.
She received a runner-up prize from the Medical Research Foundation, worth £5,000, which she will use to build research collaborations with researchers around the world.
“It’s a real honour to be included amongst this amazing group of researchers. I am grateful to the Medical Research Foundation for this opportunity to develop new international collaborations and explore new directions for our research. AMR is a global problem and we need to work in partnership across disciplines and borders in order to understand how we can reduce the impact of resistant microbes” said Dr Mather.
Angela Hind PhD, Chief Executive of the Medical Research Foundation, said: “We support exciting new research where there is high clinical need, and the increasingly serious threat of drug resistant infections to human lives clearly fits the bill. Through our Emerging Leaders Prize we’re looking for scientists on a trajectory to do something unique and special in their field, and that’s undoubtedly the case with our prize-winners. The prize fund is flexible, meaning the winners decide how best to use it. That could mean spending some time in a lab overseas, buying a cutting-edge piece of technology for their research, or investing in their personal career development.
“We hope this prize will be transformative for our winners’ research and provide a springboard for the next stage of their careers.”
Dr Myrsini Kaforou of Imperial College London won the first place prize, with Dr Tihana Bicanic, St George’s University of London, placed second. Dr David Eyre of the Big Data Institute was also a runner-up.For full details of the winners see the Medical Research Foundation website.
The prizes have been made possible thanks to a legacy gift from Johanne Menage and her husband, the late Professor Victor Menage, as well as a grant from Shionogi B.V.