Antimicrobial resistance research areas

Our network focuses on eight themes of AMR action.

To help identify the themes, we mapped the main objectives of 24 global AMR guidance documents, including the national AMR Action plans for 15 countries with low, middle and high levels of income.

If you are a University of Leeds academic and would like to get involved, email the AMR at Leeds network via

Our research themes 

Optimise the use of antimicrobials in humans and animals

Safeguarding the effectiveness of existing antimicrobial treatments is a key. Leeds contributes to a range of studies on antimicrobial prescribing and usage within the NHS, other human health systems, informal human healthcare, and animal healthcare. Additionally, we develop engagement and public health initiatives to create better public awareness on the use (and misuse) of antimicrobials.


Develop new drugs, diagnostics and vaccines

It is vital to develop novel therapies to replace existing antimicrobial drugs which are becoming ineffective. We are taking a variety of approaches to discover novel antibiotics from natural sources, modifying existing agents to improve their activity against AMR pathogens, and creating new drugs from scratch in the laboratory. We are also working to develop improved diagnostic approaches to more rapidly diagnose infection, which should in turn support correct use of antimicrobial treatments. 

Read about Leeds research into rapid infection diagnostics to combat AMR.


Increase public engagement with AMR

AMR is a social challenge; when antimicrobials are not used appropriately it makes AMR worse. To tackle this, we need research which actively engages with people to change their behaviour. We understand “engagement” should go beyond simple awareness-raising and educational resources. Our research helps individuals, communities and the public to understand where, how and why antimicrobials work, allowing people to make better informed decisions on drug usage. This includes human health care but also decisions around antimicrobial use in animal and agricultural practices.   

Visit our Community engagement for AMR website.

Find out about our 1,2,3 Germfree project to improve toilet hygiene in primary schools.

Read about our project to develop community dialogues for preventing and controlling antibiotic resistance in Bangladesh.

Read about our project studying how gender drives antibiotic misuse in Nepalese communities.


  • Paul Cooke: filmmaking, community engagement, co-production 
  • Rebecca King: community engagement, low-income countries, One Health
  • Jessica Mitchell: community engagement, young people, One Health  
  • Nichola Jones: gender, One Health, community engagement 
  • Catherine Stones: health communication, graphic design, co-design 
  • James Stark: medical humanities, biomedical history, infectious diseases 

Understand AMR in the environment

Beyond human and animal health care, understanding AMR requires consideration of how, and in what quantities, antimicrobials reach our natural environment. This is a novel and under-researched area of AMR.

Waste from domestic, health care and pharmaceutical settings are obvious routes for such contamination, yet AMR is also natural process which can occur without human intervention.

Other process such as climate change and heavy metal pollution may contribute to AMR by stressing bacteria and causing mutations which result in resistance.

Researchers at Leeds are seeking to address this knowledge gap via a range of projects looking at pharmaceutical contamination of the natural environment (water and soil), investigating new methods of biocontrol, and responsible handling of waste. This area includes the dynamics of AMR within the natural and built environment including the water sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector.

Read about our HECOIRA project, working with clinical and industry partners to develop new approaches to hospital design and operation to optimise core infection control.


Reduce and prevent infection in humans and animals 

Preventing and reducing infections represents a major opportunity to tackle AMR as it reduces the demand for antimicrobial treatments. We are working on infection prevention in animal and human healthcare in countries across the world. This includes the often-overlooked dental care sector and livestock farming research at the University’s working farm.

We are also researching antibacterial materials and innovation within airflow and the water sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sectors to provide mechanisms to reduce infection across the built environment. Behaviour change to help prevent infection is another key component. 

Read about our project studying antimicrobial resistance in Indian dental care.


  • Catherine Stones: health communication, graphic design, co-design 
  • James Stark: medical humanities, biomedical history, infectious diseases 
  • John Walley: public health, respiratory infections, low-income countries
  • Cath Noakes: ventilation, airborne infection, fluid dynamics 
  • Barbara Evans: sanitation, water, public health 
  • Andy Kemp: wireless sensory networks
  • Vishal Aggarwal: dentistry, chronic pain, global health 

Optimise AMR surveillance, data management and dissemination

Monitoring and surveillance data on AMR are crucial to understand how resistance develops, spreads, and at what speed. The recent GRAMPaper highlights that “There are serious data gaps in many low-income settings, emphasising the need to expand microbiology laboratory capacity and data collection systems to improve our understanding of this important human health threat”.

It is important to consider other drivers of AMR beyond human behaviour and bacterial evolution. Sharing and comparing data between sectors, regions and nations speeds up the learning process around how AMR develops and spreads within a given setting. Data on the dynamics of infection and antimicrobial usage are also crucial to understanding potential AMR hotspots (both globally and locally) in the future.

This is a priority area of AMR research expansion at the University of Leeds and we want to collaborate with researchers in this area. Email Jessica Mitchell via for more details.


  • John Walley: public health, respiratory infections, low-income countries

Increase financial investment in AMR-related activities 

There are ambitious aims for AMR initiatives and research globally, yet without adequate financial investment these ambitions will not be realised. Tackling AMR requires research across multiple disciplines, cross-cutting projects and collaborations. We are experienced in acquiring interdisciplinary funding for AMR and we host a strong portfolio of projects utilising the skills of many different research groups.

We are also keen to build a strong economic case for global investment in AMR, including risk assessing the financial impact of AMR and welcome expressions of interest for research collaborations in this area. Email Jessica Mitchell via for more details.

Establish strong AMR governance  

Establishing a sustainable and flexible response to AMR requires collaboration and governance at a global level. Leeds conducts high-impact AMR research across disciplines and in collaboration with many other countries including those within the Global South. Our Nuffield centre is the WHO Collaborating Centre on Research and Capacity Strengthening of Health Policy, Governance and Services.

Research impacts include the development of national AMR action plans which support AMR governance across the world. Several existing projects with national-level impact are now in the process of scaling-up and being tested in other countries to consider how such impacts can be shared globally.