Today sees the launch of the PLOS Antimicrobial Resistance Channel, developed in collaboration with the Global Antibiotic Research & Development Partnership (GARDP), a joint DNDi and WHO initiative. Channels are resources for research communities: a single destination to discover and explore content from PLOS journals as well as the broader literature, supplemented by commentary, blogs, news and more to keep readers up to date with the latest research in their field.
The PLOS Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Channel was developed with the Channel Editors – experts in their field – who will be responsible for curating the content that goes into each Channel update. The AMR Channel will focus on four “pillars” of AMR research, with a pair of editors representing each pillar.
Basic science – the biology of disease
I am the founder of Antimicrobial Development Specialists, LLC. Previously, I have worked for AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, Novartis, Wyeth, and Lederle Pharmaceuticals, where I contributed to several development programs for antibiotics, including piperacillin-tazobactam, tigecycline, and ceftazidime-avibactam. I have also led biology efforts on discovery platforms for antibiotics and antivirals and have managed a diverse group of scientists working in microbiology, pharmacology, biochemistry, and bioinformatics.
I joined GARDP as Head of Scientific Affairs in January 2018 on a secondment basis alongside my research activities at the University of Birmingham, where I am Professor of Microbiology and continue to lead a research team. My university research focuses on how antibiotic resistance arises, defining and characterising clinically relevant mechanisms of resistance in pathogenic bacteria, providing a platform for early drug discovery activities. I have advised organisations such as the World Health Organization about antibiotic resistance, and scientific data from my team has been used by national governmental agencies when deciding whether to withdraw the licences of some antibiotics from veterinary medicine. I have also collaborated with and advised numerous pharmaceutical companies on their pre-clinical drug development programmes.
Research and Development
I trained as a medical doctor at the University of Nottingham, UK from where I started my career in internal and emergency medicine. From 2001 onwards, I worked as a doctor and researcher in several countries in Sub- Saharan Africa and Southern Asia, also gaining significant experience working in humanitarian emergencies and responses, largely with Médecins sans Frontières (MSF). At the end of 2007 I joined DNDi as Head of Leishmaniasis Clinical Program before returning to MSF four years later as Executive Director of their Access Campaign. I was appointed director of GARDP in June 2016. I am currently a board member of the Medicines Patent Pool as well as of FIND’s Scientific Advisory Committee.
My experience spans clinical and public health practice in infectious diseases, international work on health policy & access to medicines where I have served on numerous international technical and health policy panels and experts groups. I also have substantial experience in clinical trials and drug development working as a site investigator, principal investigator, and project manager.
I am a microbiologist and expert for antibacterial drug R&D strategies and policies based on clinical and public health needs. My broad therapeutic area expertise includes early integration of PK/PD concepts, optimisation of dosing and usage approaches, public funding strategies for antibacterial R&D and initiatives to recover the global pipeline. Previously, I was work package leader or partner in several EU funded international collaborative projects focused on antibacterial drug R&D and reviving of old antibiotics. Additionally, I served as President of the International Society for Anti-Infective Pharmacology, Founding President of the ESCMID (European Society for Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases) PK/PD of Anti-Infectives Study Group, as Executive Committee member of the International Society for Infectious Diseases (ISID), and as chairperson of a working group of the International Society of Chemotherapy (ISC). I was member of the coordinating group of the WHO project Priority Pathogen List for R&D and leading scientist for the Clinical Pipeline analysis at WHO. I lectured at the University of Vienna for 10 years and was recently appointed ESCMID Fellow.
Appropriate Use and Access
I am a Senior Advisor with the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva where I am responsible for issues related to public health, trade and intellectual property. This includes work on innovative funding mechanisms for research and development. I was involved in setting up a sustainable cooperation among the World Intellectual Property, the World Trade Organization and WHO as well as the WHO/DNDi initiative on a Global Antibiotic R&D Partnership. Previously, I was a Legal Advisor to the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property in Berne. I have negotiated bilateral free trade agreements for the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and headed negotiations at WHO and WIPO. Furthermore, I was responsible for the bilateral dialogue between Switzerland and China on intellectual property.
Prior to joining the Swiss civil service, I worked with the Ecologic Institute in Berlin as a Senior Fellow on environmental law and policy. I acted as an adviser to the European Commission as well as to different national Ministries of the Environment in the areas of pollution control, waste management, climate change and environmental liability.
I was a research and teaching assistant at the University of Geneva, writing my doctoral thesis on integrated pollution control in the industrial sector. I am a graduate of the Universities of Cologne and Freiburg im Breisgau and was admitted to the bar in Berlin in 2001.
I am an Infectious Disease specialist, currently working as a technical officer at WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, where I focus on antibiotic stewardship but also working on access and shortages of antibiotics and R&D related issues such as Target product profiles for new products. Before joining the WHO, I worked as a consultant at the Norwegian advisory unit for antibiotic use in hospitals, developing and implementing antibiotic stewardship programs in all Norwegian hospitals. I was also associate professor at the Dept. of Clinical Science, University of Bergen, teaching Medical-, Pharmacy and Nursing students and performing research on Influenza vaccines and antibiotic stewardship. My research interests are R&D and stewardship of antibiotics, infection prevention and control, implementation science, use of antibiotic guidelines, surveillance of antibiotics, quality improvement and influenza vaccines.
Public health – Surveillance and epidemiology
I am professor of pharmaceutical microbiology at the University of Ibadan Nigeria and relocated there after over a decade at Haverford College, Pennsylvania, USA. I received a Bachelor of Pharmacy, Masters and Doctorate degrees from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria and underwent postdoctoral training in Uppsala Universitet, Sweden and the University of Maryland. I am a bacterial geneticist and the research in our lab focuses on antimicrobial resistance, molecular epidemiology and pathogenesis, particularly of Escherichia coli and other enteric bacteria. I also research applications and uptake of microbiology, particularly in African settings, and connect people to microbiology as an educator as well as by advocating for antimicrobial resistance containment more broadly. Among the organizations that I currently serve as a consultant on antimicrobial resistance are the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, the Wellcome Trust’s Surveillance and Epidemiology of Drug Resistant Infections Consortium (SEDRIC) and the World Health Organization.
I joined the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2005. From January 2005 to November 2011 I was the team leader for the WHO programme “Infection Prevention and Control in Health Care”. In the context of renewed efforts to combat antimicrobial drug resistance, WHO established the programme “Antimicrobial Drug Resistance” in December 2011 and I was appointed to lead the new programme. Prior to WHO, I was an Associate Professor of Infectious Diseases for 12 years at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The Editors will regularly update the Channel to showcase the most up to date and impactful research to assist stakeholders in the fight against antimicrobial resistance, and look forward to engaging with the research community to build a useful resource for all.