Seminar – Professor Roberto La Ragione – University of Surrey: “Tackling antibiotic resistance in livestock and companion animals; a one health issue”

26 March 2020 - 26 March 2020
11:00am - 12:00pm

Quadram Institute Lecture Theatre

Speaker: Professor Roberto La Ragione

Hosted by: Prof Rob Kingsley

Open to: Norwich Research Park

Abstract:  Antibiotics are critical for treating infections in human and veterinary medicine and increasing resistance in bacteria is considered a major global health threat, therefore alternatives are urgently required. Minimising the unnecessary and inappropriate use of antibiotics can reduce the selective pressure that favours the emergence and spread of resistant bacteria and is an essential component of strategies to safeguard antibiotics critical for treatment of serious human and animal infections. Furthermore, understanding the transmission dynamics of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is essential if suitable alternatives are to be developed.

Antibiotic resistant bacteria from animals and humans can transmit in both directions, through human contact with farm, wildlife or companion animals or their environments, through ingestion of contaminated food (both imported and local produced animal and vegetable or fruit items) and through contact with effluent waste from humans, animals and industry. Furthermore, the acquisition of AMR can influence the pathobiology of many pathogens including virulence, metabolism and persistence in the environment.

With a focus on livestock and companion animals, this presentation will detail the current issues surrounding antimicrobial resistance (AMR), including the drivers of AMR and the validation and use of in vitro models for studying AMR transmission and persistence.  The development of novel alternatives to antimicrobials including, pre and probiotics, novel antimicrobials and rapid diagnostics will also be discussed.

Biography:  Roberto graduated in 1995 and then went on to study for a post graduate degree in veterinary microbiology at the RVC. In 1996 he moved to the government Veterinary Laboratories Agency to undertake a PhD on the pathogenesis of E. coli in poultry. In 2005 Roberto was appointed head of pathogenesis and control at the APHA and in 2010 he was appointed professor of veterinary microbiology and pathology at the University of Surrey. Roberto gained the FRCPath in 2010 and in 2012 was appointed the Associate Dean for Veterinary Strategy in the School of Veterinary Medicine. Roberto is currently the Head of the Department of Pathology and Infectious Diseases and the Deputy Head of School. Roberto is the past president of the EU Med-Vet-Net association, the Chair of the Royal College of Pathologists Veterinary Pathology Specialty Advisory Committee, Chair of the humanimal Trust, a member of the Houghton Trust and a member of the APHA science Advisory Board. Roberto is an Associate member of the European College of Veterinary Microbiology.

Roberto’s current research interests focus on AMR and understanding the pathogenesis of food-borne pathogens with a particular interest in the development of intervention strategies including vaccination, and probiotics for the control of bacterial pathogens such as Salmonella, Brachyspira and E. coli in food producing animals. Roberto has published over 150 peer reviewed papers in the area of microbiology.