NEW YORK – The UK's Medical Research Council has provided €1.1 million ($1.2 million) for a new international research consortium to develop nanopore sequencing-based methods of detecting and monitoring the spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in bacteria.
Alison Mather, a researcher at the UK's Quadram Institute and the University of East Anglia, will lead the Metagenome-Informed Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance (MEGAISurv) project, joined by researchers from University College Dublin, Utrecht University, and Dawn Farm Foods.
The consortium aims to develop tools based on metagenomic sequencing to assess the level of AMR in a sample and the risk of its spread, as well as new analytical tools to investigate point mutations causing AMR in metagenomes and a novel computational framework to risk assess the spread of AMR.
"By applying these tools in real-world settings, we will learn how best to use them to target and evaluate interventions to reduce the spread of AMR," Nick Andrews of Dawn Farm Foods said in a statement.
The team plans to use long-read sequencing from Oxford Nanopore Technologies, which can also provide information about how transmissible a particular AMR gene is by detecting it within mobile genomic contexts such as plasmids and transposons.
MEGAISurv is the latest alliance for Quadram built around nanopore sequencing. For example, in 2022 it partnered with Eagle Genomics on microbiome research.