NIHR | Manchester Biomedical Research Centre
Our Research: Respiratory


Antimicrobial resistance is a huge issue facing the world today. How will we revolutionise the way we diagnose and treat patients with respiratory disease?

Our research is split into non-fungal and fungal infection. It focused on providing more accurate, rapid diagnosis for patients with severe respiratory infections and better management of fungal infections – the areas where we believe our work can have the greatest impact.

We know that there is a link between respiratory disease and an imbalance of microorganisms (bacteria, fungi and viruses) in the lung.

We are:

  • Analysing the microbiome (genetic material of these microorganisms) to help deliver more accurate diagnosis and identify novel targets/more effective treatments for patients with respiratory conditions.
  • In collaboration with The Health eResearch Centre we are developing and evaluating software algorithms to process information about the patient’s condition, to help clinicians make timely, efficient and effective decisions on the antibiotics they use to treat patients in hospitals with serious infections. . This will optimise antibiotic treatments going forward and ultimately improve patient safety for future generations.

Fungal diseases are among the more difficult to treat, particularly in patients with complex medical needs. With over 30 new multi-azole resistant strains of Aspergillus each year, there is huge demand for more targeted and alternative therapies.

We are:

  • Evaluating the ability to detect Azole resistance using molecular methods that can be applied as part of routine clinical care.
  • Establishing whether tools, based on a small number of genetic markers identified through previous research, can accurately distinguish aspergillosis (disease caused by infection of Aspergillus fungi) from underlying lung diseases, in a way that can help match an individual to the treatment that is most likely to work in their subtype of disease.
Antimicrobial response

NIHR Infrastructure Award:  Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Centre Award, 2019

Our Respiratory Theme leads Manchester’s NIHR Infrastructure grant to accelerate our expertise in the rapid diagnosis of bacterial infections, AMR and sepsis. To support personalised care, we are identifying individualised antimicrobial dosing and rapid assessment of antimicrobial response with the aim to reduce emerging AMR.  The new Centre will support large-scale clinical studies and leverage further funding in this area of global importance and immediate clinical need.

Research funded by NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre and the Connected Health Cities Programme has discovered an association between the number of prescriptions for antibiotics and a higher risk of hospital admissions.

Blog:  Approximately 50,000 patients in the UK die from sepsis each year. On World Sepsis Day Dr Tim Felton discusses the challenge of tackling sepsis in the face of the increasing challenge posed by antibiotic resistance.

Blog:  On world sepsis day Professor Paul Dark, sub-theme project lead in respiratory infections discusses the challenge of antibiotic resistance and how his Manchester BRC research will drive faster clinical decisions about antibiotic treatment of hospitalised patients with serious infections.

Fungal research

Research funded by NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre has led to UK-wide implementation of a novel NHS diagnostic test that uses pyrosequencing (a method of identifying genetic markers in DNA), to identify the right treatment for people with aspergillosis.

Scientists at The University of Manchester have discovered a genetic mutation in humans linked to a 17-fold increase in the amount of dangerous fungal spores in the lungs.