School of Veterinary Medicine

My postdoctorate research experience - Dr Jonathon Betts, antimicrobial resistance

"I decided to undertake research at Surrey, as I wanted to be part of an institution with strong core values that I believe in and be part of the dynamic research group led by Professor La Ragione."

“I have been a postdoctoral researcher at Surrey for two years. I enjoy the challenge of working in a field that is constantly changing.

Before starting at Surrey, I undertook a PhD in Chemistry at the University of Hull. My PhD focused on the microfluidic synthesis of novel compounds and their antimicrobial activity against important human pathogens.

I decided to undertake research at Surrey, as I wanted to be part of an institution with strong core values that I believe in and be part of the dynamic research group led by Professor La Ragione.


I had the opportunity, with the opening of the Veterinary School, to create something new that would benefit other researchers and the School itself. I also had the chance to setup and run the new bacteriology labs, and build an environment I knew would enable others to conduct world-leading research.


My research focuses on antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Over the past 11 years most of my research has looked at novel antimicrobials/antibiotic combinations for multidrug-resistant gram-negative bacteria, such as Acinetobacter baumannii, Klebsiella pneumoniae and E. coli. More recently I have started to investigate the prevalence of resistance, the rapid detection and virulence of medically and veterinary important species of gram-negative bacteria.

I’m extremely passionate about my field of work, as I see the clinical impact of my research. Antimicrobial resistance is a global issue and results in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people every year.

 

I am determined to make a difference in the field, not only because the area is so interesting and challenging, but because my research has the potential to save lives and improve welfare in animals.


I have had a lot of opportunity to create new collaborations with other institutions in the UK and abroad. This year I was successful in being awarded the Santander Staff Mobility Award, which enabled me to travel to Cologne in Germany and setup a collaboration with colleagues at the University of Cologne. Several abstracts, papers and grant applications are underway because of this. I have also been able to maintain collaborations and relationships with institutions and companies I created at Queen Mary University of London and the University of Hull.

Since starting at Surrey, my research has resulted in several significant findings, including the successful evaluation of a several novel antimicrobials, which have the potential to be used as treatments for bacterial infections. In addition to this, in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Cologne, bacterial strains have been discovered which are not only multidrug-resistant, but are significantly more virulent than their susceptible counterparts (something that is not usually the case).


It is my hope that my research will lead to the discovery and evaluation of a novel antimicrobial that is approved to treat infections caused by multidrug-resistant bacteria. I also hope to be able to highlight not only the magnitude of antimicrobial resistance in certain bacterial species, but their ability to cause life-threatening infections.”

 

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