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Reader Ed Feil researching MRSA
Reader Ed Feil researching MRSA

Press Release - 17 February 2009

University to share four million to research MRSA

Scientists at the University of Bath are taking part in ground-breaking research into the super-bug MRSA.

They’re joining 12 partners across Europe in looking at the spread of anti-biotic resistance.

The project is costing four million euros over three years.

Ed Feil, a reader of microbial evolution in the Department of Biology & Biochemistry, is responsible for the University of Bath’s input, concentrating on computational biology and evolutional analysis.

He said: “The idea is to first identify those bacteria which are resistant to antibiotics and causing the biggest problems in hospitals.

“These bugs will then be genetically characterised by full genome sequencing and laboratory experiments to help us to understand why some bacteria are more virulent than others.

“My role will be to develop computational methods to understand how these bacteria have evolved, and to help implement effective intervention strategies by figuring out the patterns of spread thoughout Europe.

“This is a very exciting opportunity to work with the best scientists around Europe.”

The consortium of researchers includes many internationally recognised experts from all over Europe whose expertise spans diverse fields, including medical micro-biology, molecular typing and bacterial pathogenicity.

The project is conducted under the patronage of the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases.

MRSA stands for Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (SA). SA is a bacterium from the Staphylococcus aureus family and is found lurking in hospitals.

The bacteria enter the bloodstream through open wounds, through injections, through IV sites, through catheters. Bacteria thriving on the skin are easily transferred from one person to another.

According to the Office of National Statistics, MRSA was mentioned on more than 1,500 death certificates in England and Wales in 2007.

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