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Professor Matthew Avison

I lead a research group studying antimicrobial drug resistance (AMR) in bacteria. We use molecular genetics, biochemistry and functional genomics techniques to identify and characterise AMR mechanisms in key human pathogens, their mobilisation, and their control. We then use this information to combat the problem of AMR by developing interdisciplinary research collaborations. 

In the past, our basic research has led to the characterization of novel antibiotic efflux pumps, novel β-lactamases and β-lactamase induction mechanisms. Current work in this area aims to further characterize multi-drug resistance mechanisms in non-fermenting Gram-negative bacteria, particularly Stenotrophomonas maltophilia (e.g. Calvopiñet al., (2018) Antimicrob Agents Chemother) and to understand key regulators of antibiotic entry in Enterobacteriaceae (e.g. Jimenez-Castellanos et al., (2018) J Antimicrob Chemother, Wan nur Ismah et al., (2018) J Antimicrob Chemother).

We are collaborating with chemists and structural biologists to develop β-lactamase inhibitors (e.g. Brem et al., (2014) Nature Chemistry; Brem et al., (2016) Nature Communications ; Calvopiña et al., (2017) Molecular Microbiology; Cahill et al., (2019) Biochim Biophys Acta), chemical modifications that increase the entry of antibiotics into Gram negative bacteria (e.g. Calvopiña et al., (2016) Antimicrob Agents Chemother) and ways of reversing fluoroquinolone resistance by inhibiting DNA repair (e.g. Wilkinson et al., (2016) eLife). We are also part of Bristol University's AMR theme 2 "Silent Pharmacy" consortium led by Dr Andy Bailey (Biological Sciences) and are working in collaboration with chemists, biochemists and mycologists to identify novel antibiotics from fungi.

We have pioneered proteomics-based technologies for the identification of AMR proteins in clinical samples and we are pioneering the use of proteomics to improve the ability of whole genome sequencing to predict antimicrobial susceptiblity (e.g. Wan Nur Ismah et al., (2018) Antimicrob Agents Chemother). We have helped investigate the potential for sensing AMR via volotile profiling (e.g. Smart et al., (2019) J Pharm Biomed Anal). We are also involved in a project led by Physicist Dr Massimo Antognozzi (University of Bristol) to develop novel sensors that can rapidly determine antimicrobial susceptibility in individual bacteria from clinical samples. This project was a recipient of the global Longitude Prize Discovery Award in 2017 and has spun out a company, Vitamica Ltd. 

I am PI of Bristol University’s AMR theme 3 "OH-STAR" consortium. Working with the AMR Force group led by Dr Kristen Reyher (Bristol Vet School) , one aim is to define the environmental and management factors that influence acquisition and selection of AMR in dairy cattle and in dogs. Working with a team led by Prof Alasdair MacGowan (Southmead Hospital/Severn Pathology), a second aim is to identify whether AMR bacteria from animals impact on AMR in human infections. In collaboration with a team led by Prof Alastair Hay (Population Health Sciences), a third aim is to identify whether antibiotic usage reduction by GPs can lower AMR prevalence in humans.

I am also PI of an AMR Phase 2 GCRF "AMR in a Global Context" Consortium "OH-DART". Working with colleagues at the Universities of Exeter and Bath, Mahidol University, Chulabhorn Research Institute and the NERC Center for Ecology and Hydrology, our consortium's aim is to define and prioritise the one-health drivers of antibacterial drug resistance in Thailand taking a multi-disciplinary approach.

I lead the Bristol AMR interdisciplinary research network, funded by the Wellcome Trust, which aims to promote, facilitate and bring together AMR research from across the University of Bristol, reaching into all six of our faculties.

I lead the NERC funded "AMR in the real world" programme integration group, which aims to bring together and find synergy between all 13 research projects funded under the research council AMR theme 3 call.

I am PI and Academic Lead for the Medical Research Foundation-funded National PhD Training Programme in AMR Research, which will provide 31 fully-funded 4-year, interdisciplinary PhD studentships and will fund cohort building and knowledge exchange events for up to 175 additional PhD students working on AMR related projects from all disciplines and all UK institutions.

Current Grant Funding

  • 10/19-10/22: MRC. £250k (CoI)
  • 08/19-06/22: BBSRC/DoHSC. £1m (CoI)
  • 11/18-11/19: BSAVA. £35k (CoI)
  • 07/18-07/20: Wellcome Trust. £110k (PI)
  • 05/18-05/21: MRC/DoHSC. £2.9m (PI)
  • 10/17-02/24: Medical Research Foundation. £4m (PI)
  • 10/16-01/21: NERC/BBSRC/MRC. £1.5m (PI)
  • 09/16-09/20: MRC/BBSRC/EPSRC. £1.8m (CoI)

  Research Team

  • Maryam Alzayn, BSc (Tabuk), MSc (Bangor) - PhD Student
  • Phoebe Cheung, BSc (Imperial), MRes (Bristol) - PhD Student
  • Punyawee Dulyayangkul, BSc (Mahidol), PhD (CRI, Bangkok) - Research Associate (UKRI Funded)
  • Jacqueline Findlay, BSc, PhD (Edinburgh) - Research Associate (UKRI Funded)
  • Ginny Gould, RVN (RCVS), BSc (UWE), PhD (Bristol) - Senior Research Associate (UKRI Funded)
  • Pei-Si Hayes, BA (Leeds) - Senior Research Administrator (Wellcome Trust Funded)
  • Josh Kennils, BVSc (Bristol), MRCVS - MRes Student
  • Olly Mounsey, BSc, MRes (Bristol) - Technician (UKRI Funded)
  • Katy Morley, RVN (RCVS), BSc (Bristol) - Technician (UKRI Funded)
  • Kanasanun Phonrat, BSc (PSU, Thailand), MSc (Bristol) - PhD Student
  • Tia Salter, BSc (Imperial) - PhD Student
  • Hannah Schubert, MA, VetMB (Cambridge), MRCVS - Senior Research Associate (UKRI Funded)
  • Jordan Sealey, BSc (Oxford Brooks), MSc (LSTM) - PhD Student
  • Claire Spreadbury, BSc (Cardiff), PhD (Imperial) - Programme Manager (Med Res Foundation Funded)
  • Emma Wright, BVMS (Nottingham) - MRes Student 

Recently Departed


  • Ed Douglas (MRes Student) - now PhD student, Bacteriology, University of Bristol
  • Dr Wan Nur Ismah Kamil (PhD Student) - now Lecturer, Bioinformatics, Universiti Putra Malaysia.
  • Dr Charlotte Bermingham (MRC Research Associate) - now Chief Technical Officer, Biophysics, Vitamica Ltd.
  • Dr Karina Calvopiña (PhD Student) - now PDRA, Biological Chemistry, University of Oxford.
  • Dr Juan-Carlos Jiménez-Castellanos (PhD Student) - now PDRA, Molecular Bacteriology, University of Edinburgh.


  • Dr Ashley Hammond (MRC Research Associate) - now NIHR "Launching Fellowship" Holder in Primary Care, University of Bristol.
  • Dr Yuiko Takebayashi (MRC Research Associate) - now PDRA, Biological Chemistry, University of Bristol.
  • Amy Smart (EPSRC Research Assistant) - now PhD student, Bioengineering, UWE.
  • Dr Mohammed Alorabi (PhD Student) - now Lecturer, Microbiology, Taif University, Saudi Arabia.

 Present collaborators

  • Dr Jim Spencer (CMM)
  • Dr Kate Heesom (Bristol Proteomics Facility)
  • Prof Ian Collinson (Biochemistry)
  • Dr Andy Bailey (Biological Sciences)
  • Dr Kristen Reyher, MRCVS (Bristol Vet School)
  • Prof David Barrett, FRCVS (Bristol Vet School)
  • Dr Tristan Cogan (Bristol Vet School)
  • Prof Andrew Dowsey (Bristol Vet School)
  • Ms Christina Maunder, MRCVS (Langford Veterinary Services)
  • Ms Marta Costa, FRCPath, MRCVS (Langford Veterinary Services)
  • Prof Alastair Hay, MRCGP (Population Health Sciences)
  • Dr Katy Turner (Population Health Sciences)
  • Prof Helen Lambert (Population Health Sciences)
  • Dr Ashley Hammond (Population Health Sciences)
  • Dr Massimo Antognozzi (Physics)
  • Prof Chris Schofield, FRS (University of Oxford)
  • Prof Alasdair MacGowan FRCPath (Southmead Hospital)
  • Dr Martin Williams FRCPath (Bristol Royal Infirmary)
  • Dr Philip Williams FRCPath (Bristol Royal Infirmary)
  • Prof Skorn Mongkolsuk (Chulabhorn Research Institute)
  • Prof Visanu Thamlikitkul (Siriraj Hospital, Bangkok)
  • Dr Parntep Ratanakorn (Mahidol University)
  • Dr Luechai Sringernyuang (Mahidol University)
  • Dr Aronrag Meeyai (Mahidol University)
  • Prof Henry Buller (University of Exeter)
  • Dr Emma Pitchforth (University of Exeter)
  • Prof Will Gaze (University of Exeter)
  • Dr Andrew Singer (NERC, Center for Ecology & Hydrology)
  • Prof Ed Feil (University of Bath)