Dr Catherine Ludden
Dr Catherine Ludden is a genomic epidemiologist and is currenlty on secondment at the COVID-19 Genomics UK Consortium (COG-UK) where she is Director of Operations. She is responsible for overseeing COG-UK operations, developing long-term operational strategies, coordinating public health investigations, and engaging with technical experts, collaborators and senior leaders. Catherine also holds the position of Head of Operations for the Pathogen Genomics COVID Programme at Public Health England (PHE) and is responsible for the service delivery of SARS-CoV-2 genomics in the UK and the continuous genomic service improvement. Catherine has strong expertise in pathogen genomics, antibiotic resistance, and clinical microbiology. Prior to joining COG-UK and PHE, Catherine was working with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control where she provided scientific and technical expertise for the analysis and interpretation of European whole genome sequencing datasets and supported international outbreak investigations. She is a One Heath expert and holds a Sir Henry Postdoctoral Wellcome Fellowship at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to define reservoirs and transmission of antimicrobial-resistant Escherichia coli using a One Health approach.
Teaching the module for Practical Procedures in Clinical Microbiology to medical students, including laboratory supervision, practical demonstration, project design, laboratory report corrections and tutorials.
Teaching the topic of "One Health" on the short course entitled Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR): a Multidisciplinary Approach.
The bacterium Escherichia coli is a major cause of infections in people in hospitals and the community. E. coli can become resistant to commonly used antibiotics through the acquisition of resistance-encoding genes. When people are infected with these strains, their infection can be difficult to treat and they are at a higher risk of death.
Catherine Ludden's research is based on a One Health approach to investigate the origin and transmission of antimicrobial-resistant E. coli in the UK. She will use genome sequence data of antimicrobial-resistant E. coli from hospitalised haematology patients, the hospital environment, livestock, wastewater and bloodstream infections in the UK to determine the genetic relatedness of isolates and associated mobile genetic elements from these different sources to define shared reservoirs. Mathematical modelling will be used to infer transmission, test hypotheses and to determine the likely impact of interventions to reduce transmission of antimicrobial-resistant E. coli.
She is also involved in the development a National Surveillance programme for Carbapenem resistant Enterobacteriaceae in Ireland and integrating whole genome sequencing into health services. This will provide evidence on antimicrobial resistance reservoirs, routes of transmission between them and detection of novel mechanisms of resistance in emerging strains.