Our Microbes, Microbiomes and Bioinformatics (MMB) programme at UEA is funded by the UKRI Medical Research Council to advance the training of postgraduate research students in microbiology, with an emphasis on microbial bioinformatics.
Key themes of the programme include:
- Microbes: the COVID-19 pandemic illustrates the enduring relevance of microbial pathogens to human health and wealth. Emerging infections go hand in hand with microbial contamination of the food chain and the threat of healthcare-associated infection. New approaches are needed to diagnose infection and track the evolution and spread of microbial pathogens.
- Microbiomes: the complex microbial communities that inhabit humans and our livestock are now recognised to play key roles in disease, whether in infection or in conditions not usually considered as microbial in origin, such as cancer, dementia and obesity.
- Antimicrobial resistance and drug discovery: the O’Neill Report highlighted the escalating problem of resistance and why action is needed to combat this. Researchers in Norwich and our partners in the programme are at the forefront of efforts to track the evolution and spread of resistance and develop new approaches to drug discovery.
- The One-Health approach: while focused on human disease, our programme adopts a broad perspective that includes links between pathogens and antimicrobial resistance in humans, livestock and the environment.
The programme draws on
- the cutting-edge research capacity of the Norwich Research Park — particularly the University of East Anglia, Quadram Institute Bioscience and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital — including substantial investment in microbial sequencing and bioinformatics, building on our crucial contribution to national and international responses to the COVID-19 crisis.
- a partnership with two front-line government agencies — the UK Health Security Agency and the Animal and Plant Health Agency — equipping students to work in agencies and the healthcare sector, e.g. in health informatics
- partners in industry and in low and middle-income countries.
By focusing on a single project, we give our students time to develop their skills and see their work through to research outputs.
Professor Mark Pallen, Director
Dr Mark Webber, Deputy Director
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