Dr Richard Stabler
in Molecular Bacteriology
Dr Stablers’ research focus is to understand how and why highly virulent bacteria evolve, in particular in response to the antimicrobial challenge. His focus has been nosocomial pathogens especially those are very much in the public and political eye for example Clostridium difficile and MRSA. More recently he has been focused on Acinetobacter baumannii, the human pathogen declared the highest priority by the WHO in 2017. A. baumannii has evolved to be extremely drug resistant with few treatment options in HIC countries and a far worse situation in LMIC countries. He has been using high throughput sequencing technologies to understand the A. baumannii epidemiology and assessing the use of a bacteriophage depolymerase and ajunct antibody therapy as an alternative to antibiotics employing a disarming rather than kill methodology to reduce the selective pressure that drive AMR.
He is a co-investigator on a £20M BBSRC Interdisciplinary one health poultry hub. The hub focuses on achieving sustainable global intensification of poultry meat and egg production whilst reducing risks to human and animal health and welfare. He is focusing on transmission of the zoonotic pathogen Campylobacter jejuni from introduction to broiler and egg laying chickens, through the production chain and ultimately to resultant clinical infection. The aim is to identify hotspots of infection, to develop and target intervention strategies, to reduce the burden of disease in LMIC countries. Additionally, the project will be looking at the over use of antimicrobials in food production and investigate the resultant resistance and to look at alternatives from food additives to biosecurity. Additionally, he is funded through the CGIAR IHH project to investigate the presence, transmission and antibiotic resistance of non-typhoidal Salmonella in the Vietnamese pig production value chain.
He has developed links with scientists outside my direct sphere, developing interdisciplinarity into my research and have now published and received funding involving, for example, social scientists, modelers, epidemiologists and health policy scientists. He has formed a partnership with a South Korean engineer to develop a nanofluidic microPCR origami point-of-care device to detect A. baumannii and carbapenemase resistance. He is a part of an MRC Joint Health Systems Research Initiative funded team using a multi-stakeholder approach towards operationalising antibiotic stewardship in India's pluralistic rural health system. This social science-led project will generate evidence on developing and operationalising an antibiotic stewardship programme to inform strategies for regulating and improving the performance of informal providers in India.
Course Director for the MSc Medicial Microbiology
Module Organiser for Core Bacteriology and Clinical Bacteriology
Research interests include
i) Clostridium difficile: molecular epidemiology and emergence of hypervirulent isolates.
ii) Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus areus: molecular epidemiology and drug resistance
iii) Campylobacter jejuni: molecular epidemiology and identification of source specific markers.
iv) Development of drug resistance in Acinetobacter baumannii
v) Development of drug resistance in Neisseria gonorrhoea