Dr Catherine Ludden
Dr Catherine Ludden is a genomic epidemiologist specialised in investigating the origin and transmission of antimicrobial-resistant pathogens. She completed her PhD in 2014 at the National University of Ireland Galway on the genetic diversity, transmission and evolution of antimicrobial resistant pathogens in nursing homes and hospitals in Ireland. Having completed her PhD, Catherine moved to the University of Cambridge to take up a Postdoctoral Research Associate position in Professor Sharon Peacock's group at the Department of Medicine and her research was focussed on genomic epidemiology of nosocomial pathogens. In 2016, she was awarded a Sir Henry Postdoctoral Wellcome Fellowship at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Her fellowship is based on a One Health approach to investigate the origin and transmission of antimicrobial-resistant E. coli and K. pneumoniae in the UK. She is also working on integrating whole genome sequencing into health services for the surveillance of Carbapenem resistant Enterobacteriaceae. In 2019, Catherine went on a secondment to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control to provide expertise in antimicrobial resistance, healthcare associated infections and genomic analyses. She is also an International Ambassador for the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America. Catherine is an inspiring leader dedicated to enhancing human health through motivating others and working as part of a team to deliver high impact science. Currently, Catherine is on a secondment at COG-UK where she is Director of Operations.
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.