Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is significant and growing challenge to global health. Existing antimicrobials are becoming less effective and pathogenic organisms are increasing the rate at which they become resistant to treatment.

AMR sampling site in County Kajiado, Kenya

This is a complex problem, with many different factors driving the emergence of AMR at many different levels.

The One Health approach recognises the relationship between health and disease at the human, animal and environment interfaces and has become an important focus in both medical and veterinary science. It promotes a “whole of society” treatment of health hazards and a systemic change of perspective in the management of risk. It consequently has great relevance to tackling AMR.

To tackle this complex threat, interdisciplinary One Health approaches are crucial. One Health is the concept that human health, animal health and the environment are all connected. One Health approaches combine the efforts of multiple disciplines – such as human and veterinary medicine, ecology, sociology, epidemiology, and economics – to facilitate an interdisciplinary approach.

Phase contrast micrographs: Clostridium difficile

Here at the RVC we are carrying out research addressing AMR from a One Health perspective. Using interdisciplinary approaches our research is addressing this problem both in the UK and worldwide, with particular focus on developing countries through our membership of the London International Development Centre and collaborations with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and SOAS.

Our areas of interest and expertise range from understanding antimicrobial usage and the epidemiology and economics of AMR, through to developing alternative therapies, understanding pathogenesis and resistance mechanisms, and pharmacokinetics and mathematical modelling.

These featured projects below are just a few of the wide-ranging national and international studies currently ongoing at the RVC.

AMFORA: Aquaculture systems are growing in importance and there is a strong transition of small-scale farming to industrial intensification in low and middle-income countries. This transition is likely to be driving the extensive and often indiscriminate use of antibiotics in these systems to treat or prevent disease and increase productivity.

Antimicrobial susceptibility testing of E. coli isolated from wild birds

The aim of the AMFORA project is to use a ‘systems-thinking’ approach to map aquaculture systems and identify potential hotspots for the emergence and selection of resistance and human exposure to antibiotics and antibiotic-resistant organisms. This will enable the identification of potential drivers of ABU and interventions to reduce ABU.

One Health Poultry Hub: The hub will address the need to meet rising demand for poultry meat and eggs in developing countries, while minimising risk to international public health.

The GCRF One Health Poultry Hub will adopt a ‘One Health’ approach to the issue of combatting animal-to-human diseases by bringing together a team of laboratory, clinical, veterinary and social scientists. This team will test and evaluate novel interventions.

PET-Risk: The often-close contact between pets and humans provides opportunities for transmission of multi-drug resistant (MDR) bacteria and of their resistance genes in either direction.
Through this project, an international consortium will compare this risk of transmission to people from pets suffering with skin and soft tissue infections and from those diagnosed with urinary tract infections. The study will allow measurement of the critical control points at which interventions could substantially affect the spread of resistance.


Led by Dr Lucy Brunton

BSc, MSc Vet. Epi., PhD
Lecturer in Molecular Epidemiology

Lucy obtained her degree in microbiology from the University of Leeds in 2006, where she then took up a BPEX sponsored PhD to investigate the effect of rearing environment on the incidence of zoonotic bacteria in pigs. After completing her PhD in 2010, Lucy joined the Veterinary Laboratories Agency (now APHA) as an epidemiological scientist where she conducted research in the areas of food-borne disease and antimicrobial resistance and led the production of a number of reports for EFSA. In 2014 Lucy was promoted to epidemiologist and expanded her research interests to bovine tuberculosis. She conducted research in to the factors associated with the spread of bovine TB in England and Wales, and was responsible for the production of bovine TB epidemiology and surveillance reports for Wales.

Lucy completed a Masters in veterinary epidemiology at the RVC in 2017. She joined the VEEPH group at the RVC in February 2017 to develop molecular epidemiological expertise in the areas of antimicrobial resistance and bovine tuberculosis.

Led by Dr Ben Swift

BSc (Hons), MRes, PhD
Lecturer in Antimicrobial Resistance

During Ben's PhD he developed novel diagnostics for mycobacterial diseases, based on using bacteriophage. He then successfully patented this technology and here at the RVC and is currently funded to further develop this and novel technology further to aid the diagnosis of mycobacterial diseases in human and veterinary settings.

Here at the RVC he am involved in researching drivers of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in the environment, where he aims to fill in the significant gaps in research in this area, to address the potential risks the environment poses in the spread of AMR, both in the UK and in low-middle income countries.

He is very interested in applied biology and translating research from bench to consumer and is keen to collaborate with academia and industry.


Title Publication Year
Identifying hotspots for antibiotic resistance emergence and selection, and elucidating pathways to human exposure: Application of a systems-thinking approach to aquaculture systems Science of The Total Environment 2022
Systems-thinking approach to identify and assess feasibility of potential interventions to reduce antibiotic use in tilapia farming in Egypt AquaCulture 2022
Molecular Characterisation of Multi-drug Resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae isolated from livestock and in-contact humans in Southeast, Nigeria Frontiers in Microbiology 2022
Typology of interventions for antimicrobial use and antimicrobial resistance in aquaculture systems in low- and middle-income countries Science Direct 2022
Use of antimicrobials licensed for systemic administration in UK equine practice National Library of Medicine 2022
Overview and Evaluation of Existing Guidelines for Rational Antimicrobial Use in Small-Animal Veterinary Practice in Europe Antibiotics 2021
Characterization and Antimicrobial Resistance of Environmental and Clinical Aeromonas Species Isolated from Fresh Water Ornamental Fish and Associated Farming Environment in Sri Lanka  Microorganisms 2021
Unsafe "crossover-use" of chloramphenicol in Uganda: importance of a One Health approach in antimicrobial resistance policy and regulatory action Journal of Antibiotics 2021
Micellar Antibiotics of Bacillus Pharmaceutics 2021
Evaluating integrated surveillance for antimicrobial use and resistance in England: a qualitative study Frontiers in Veterinary Science 2021
Antimicrobial Resistance Patterns and Risk Factors Associated with Salmonella spp. Isolates from Poultry Farms in the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia: A Cross-Sectional Study Pathogens 2021
Successful management of aspiration pneumopathy without antimicrobial agents in 14 dogs JSAP 2021
Antimicrobial activity of polyhexamethylene biguanide nanoparticles against mastitis-causing Staphylococcus aureus JDS 2021
Assessment of evaluation tools for integrated surveillance of antimicrobial use and resistance based on selected case studies Frontiers in Veterinary Science 2021
Exploring the barriers and incentives towards effective surveillance for antimicrobial and anthelmintic usage (AMHU) in beef cattle and sheep in Great Britain Research report 2021
AMHU Surveillance GB Beef Cattle and Sheep Research Brief 2021 Research brief 2021
Evaluating the Integration of One Health in Surveillance Systems for Antimicrobial Use and Resistance: A Conceptual Framework Frontiers in Veterinary Science 2021
Genes on the Move: In Vitro Transduction of Antimicrobial Resistance Genes between Human and Canine Staphylococcal Pathogens Microorganisms 2021
Characterisation and mapping of the surveillance system for Antimicrobial Resistance and Antimicrobial Use in the United Kingdom Veterinary Record 2021
Antimicrobial resistance preparedness in sub-Saharan African countries Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control 2020
Genetic diversity and risk factors for the transmission of antimicrobial resistance across human, animals and environmental compartments in East Africa: a review Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control 2020
What drives antimicrobial prescribing for companion animals? A mixed-methods study of UK veterinary clinics Preventative Veterinary Medicine 2020
What are the barriers to implementing national antimicrobial resistance action plans? A novel mixed-methods policy analysis in Pakistan Health Policy and Planning 2020
Antimicrobial susceptibility patterns for aerobic bacteria isolated from reptilian samples submitted to a veterinary diagnostic laboratory: 129 cases (2005–2016) Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 2020
A history of antimicrobial drugs in animals: Evolution and revolution Journal of Veterinary Pharmacology and Therapeutics 2020
Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices of Veterinarians Towards Antimicrobial Resistance and Stewardship in Nigeria Antibiotics 2020
Responsible antimicrobial use in critically ill adult horses BEVA 2020
Overview of Evidence of Antimicrobial Use and Antimicrobial Resistance in the Food Chain Antibiotics 2020
Antifungal Polymeric Materials and Nanocomposites Medical Devices & Sensors 2020
Antimicrobial Resistance Diversity Suggestive of Distinct Salmonella Typhimurium Sources or Selective Pressures in Food-Production Animals Frontiers in Microbiology 2019
Structure–Activity Study, Characterization, and Mechanism of Action of an Antimicrobial Peptoid D2 and Its d- and l-Peptide Analogues Molecules 2019
Prediction of Phenotypic Antimicrobial Resistance Profiles from Whole Genome Sequences of Non-typhoidal Salmonella enterica Frontiers of Microbiology 2018
Adaptive responses to cefotaxime treatment in ESBL-producing Escherichia coli and the possible use of significantly regulated pathways as novel secondary targets The Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy 2016
Antimicrobial Resistance: The Use of Antimicrobials in the Livestock Sector OECD 2014

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