November Webinar

Antibiotic Resistance in the Envinronment

Tuesday, 24 November 2020
16:00 – 18:30 (Helsinki Time, EET/UTC +2)

Register here

To celebrate the World Antimicrobial Awareness Week 2020, Resistomap is inviting world-leading researchers and experts to offer insights based on their work on antibiotic resistance in the environment, and to discuss best strategies to avoid further emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance. The webinar aims to improve public awareness and understanding of antibiotic resistance and its environmental impact.

The Agenda

16:00-16:05


Welcome
Webinar team, Resistomap

16:05-16:30

Keynote lecture
James Tiedje (US), Michigan State University
Progress and Challenge After a Decade of Environmental Antibiotic Resistance Research

16:30-16:55

Keynote lecture
Elizabeth Wellington (UK), University of Warwick
Ecological impacts of antibiotic resistance and waste disposal

16:55-17:00

Roundtable introduction
Maarten van Dongen (NL), AMR Insights

17:00-17:10

Project presentation
Johan Bengtsson-Palme (SE), University of Gothenburg
Establishing a Monitoring Baseline for Antimicrobial Resistance in Key Environments

17:10-17:20

Project presentation
Barth F Smets (DK), Technical University of Denmark
Dynamics of Antimicrobial Resistance in the Urban Water Cycle in Europe

17:20-17:30

Project presentation
Windi Muziasari (FI), Resistomap
Digitalization of Antibiotic Resistance Monitoring in Wastewater

17:30-18:10

Roundtable discussions with all speakers
Lead by Maarten van Dongen (NL), AMR Insights
Monitoring antibiotic resistance in the environment

18:10-18:25

Closing remarks
Joakim Larsson (SE), University of Gothenburg
6th International Symposium on the Environmental Dimension of
Antibiotic Resistance (EDAR6) – Gothenburg May 29 - June 3, 2022

Progress and Challenges After a Decade of Environmental
Antibiotic Resistance Research

James M. Tiedje (US)

Michigan State University

It is now widely recognized that antibiotic resistant bacteria (AMR) can be an environmental pollutant but some are also part of the normal biota. The challenge is to recognize what is out of the norm, a potential risk, versus what is part of the natural microbiome. The microbes (AMR) and their genes (ARG), are different from chemical pollutants in that they can multiply, transfer, be co-selected, become refugia, disappear, or have alternative functions making risk evaluations difficult. Further, given the sequence diversity of ARGs, it can be difficult to determine which are clinically relevant. Nonetheless, much information has been learned to identify fates, degrees of risk, and points of control. There is clearly a broad natural resistome in soils which is locally altered by management practices, as well as introduced ARGs from manures, biosolids and waste waters. I will summarize work in different soil habitats that sheds
light on the AMR biome and its dynamics. Most important is the clustering of ARGs and mobile genetic elements (MGEs) which suggest that these genes are contiguous and hence primed for gene transfer from commensal bacteria to co-habiting pathogens. If any co-selectant exists in a niche with a high density of donor and pathogens (e.g. high frequency of cell-cell contact, and growth conditions), then selection for a multi-drug resistant pathogen is favored. One of the major challenges in evaluating AMR risk is in determining clinically relevant risk over the very large, diverse background of natural resistances native to soil.

Ecological Impacts of Antibiotic Resistance and Waste Disposal

Elizabeth Wellington (UK)

University of Warwick

An extensive range of studies have been published that report the flow of antibiotic resistance genes (against antibacterial agents) from clinical sources to natural environments. Some effort has been made to investigate what risk this poses to the human population and it is now established that this process of extensive dissemination is undesirable and can pose a risk of exposure. However very little has been done to stem the flow. In addition, resistance genes
(ARGS) spread to the wider environment through agricultural practices such as manuring, disposal of spent swill from cattle sheds and milking parlours and housed animals such as pigs being intensively reared. All these processes involve waste management or rather the lack of it. It is evident that vast quantities of raw sewage flow into UK rivers every year and apart form multiples fines by the Environment Agency nothing changes, and the pollution continues. Millions of fish are asphyxiated and tones of human sewage carrying viruses, bacterial pathogens and ARGS flow into our rivers each year. During the past five years we have been monitoring this process and come to the conclusion that regular raw sewage discharge is a normal part of the functioning of WWTPS especially those serving large communities. Drugs such as antibiotics excreted from medicated humans get discharged along with the raw sewage and all of this impacts the riverine ecosystems and microbiomes. We have tried to measure these impacts and document the fate of ARGs and pathogens in the rivers with an extensive analysis of the Thames Catchment. The key aspects of this study will be presented and implications for the natural ecosystem considered.

Establishing a Monitoring Baseline for Antimicrobial Resistance
in Key Environments

Johan Bengtsson-Palme (SE)

University of Gothenburg

Within the EMBARK project, we aim to establish a baseline for how common resistance is in different environments and where various types of resistance can be expected to be found. To get there, we will re-analyze large amounts of already existing data, but also generate new datasets of key environments that are currently under-studied. By standardizing and comparing different methods and approaches to quantify resistance, we will then identify a set of high-information targets for future environmental monitoring. In this presentation, the status of the program after a little less than a year will be reviewed and some early results will be shared.

Dynamics of Antimicrobial Resistance in the Urban Water Cycle
in Europe

Barth F Smets (DK)

Technical University of Denmark

Dynamics of Antimicrobial Resistance in the Urban Water Cycle: a Polyphasic pan- European Investigation (DARWIN – a JPI-AMR project) In a pan-European project we have examined the dynamics of core AMR genes across several urban sewage networks.  A polyphasic approach was taken: in addition to identifying and quantifying AMR genes along the network, we have described the communities, the AMR carriers, and the bacterial hosts using both culture-based and molecular methods. We observed a dramatic change in both community and AMR diversity across the network, which can be considered as a sequence of different ecological compartments.

Digitalization of Antibiotic Resistance Monitoring in Wastewater

Windi Muziasari (FI)

Resistomap

Increase in antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest global threats to human and animal health, food safety, global security, and human development today. To combat the rising global issue of antibiotic resistance there is a need to develop a routine monitoring system of antibiotic resistance in the environment which utilises a combination of molecular microbiology, data science and an online user interface, which will serve as an early warning system to prevent the outbreak of resistant bacteria. However, the dynamics of antibiotic resistance in the environment to predict resistance gene patterns are still unknown. This study is required to develop the digital system for the routine monitoring of antibiotic resistance in the environment. Therefore, Resistomap, Helsinki University Hospital (HUS) and Helsinki Region Environmental Service Authority (HSY) are working together on a project to monitor the presence and abundance of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) in wastewater from hospitals and a municipal wastewater treatment plant for three months. The project aims to provide the scientific background for the digital platform of antibiotic resistance monitoring that is developed by Resistomap. Resistomap's team has industry leading research expertise that enables it to employ molecular genetics method and a high-throughput SmartChip quantitative Polymer Chain Reaction (qPCR) technology (Takara Bio) for the monitoring of antibiotic resistance genes in any samples, including wastewater samples. Resistomap's goal is to map environmental resistomes across the globe for understanding the development and spread of antibiotic resistance in the environment.

Speakers

James M. Tiedje (US)

Michigan State University

James M. Tiedje is University Distinguished Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, and of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences, and is Director of the Center for Microbial Ecology at Michigan State University. He received his B.S. degree from Iowa State University and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Cornell University. His research focuses on microbial ecology, physiology and diversity, especially regarding the nitrogen cycle, biodegradation of environmental pollutants and use of molecular methods to understand microbial community structure and function. His group has discovered several microbes that biodegrade chlorinated pollutants and is using genomics to better understand microbial functions in their environment. He has served as Editor-in-Chief of Applied and Environmental Microbiology and Editor of Microbial and Molecular Biology Reviews. He has over 500 refereed publications including seven in Science and Nature. He shared the 1992 Finley Prize from UNESCO for research contributions in microbiology of international significance, is Fellow of the AAAS (The American Association for the Advancement of Science), the American Academy of Microbiology, and the Soil Science Society of America, and is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. He was President of the American Society for Microbiology and the International Society for Microbial Ecology.

Elizabeth Wellington (UK)

University of Warwick

Professor Elizabeth Wellington is director of Warwick Environmental Systems Interdisciplinary Centre (WESIC) at the University of Warwick. She holds a personal chair and, with her research group, is involved in the study of bacteria in soil, water and survival of pathogenic bacteria in the environment. Expert in environmental transmission routes for antimicrobial resistant bacteria and their resistance genes. Research has determined hot spots for environmental reservoirs including wastewater treatment plants, run-off from land and storm drains (CSOs). Analysis of human gut flora from prevalence of AMR genes (ARG) in sewage provided evidence that extremely resistant E.coli were being disseminated. She has a long term interest in microbial communities in soil and their activities in the rhizosphere using metaomics to study metabolic processes below ground. Prof Wellington has prior experience of extensive translational research as coordinator of 5 EU projects and PI on a SysMO grant focused on studying metabolic switches involved in antibiotic production. Major role as PI in Defra funded work to develop molecular methods for direct detection of Mycobacterium bovis in soil and faeces. A further relevant activity is the co-ordination of a metagenomics network, ComMet, sponsored by BBSRC and focused on handling large data sets and bioinformatics related to metagenome mining. She is a member of the MRC AMR Steering Group. Advisor to Defra on AMR and pathogen ecology.

Maarten van Dongen (NL)

AMR Insights

Maarten van Dongen is originally a molecular & medical microbiologist. After his PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, he has worked for the international pharma and biopharma industry in The Netherlands, Switzerland, Finland and Belgium. Later he advised Netherlands and international public and private organizations in the domain of Life Sciences. As an advisor Maarten was increasingly asked to lead large projects in the field of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). These include an international study into the presence of resistant bacteria
on farmed fish and shrimps. Likewise he was responsible for a project aiming to describe the development of bacterial resistance in mathematical models. In 2015, he was asked by the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports to establish a national collaborative structure for the development of new antibiotics. In 2016 Maarten took the initiative, together with 12 Dutch organisations, to investigate the feasibility of a new to set up global information platform on AMR. On the basis of the positive outcome, he decided in 2017 to set up AMR Insights and to entirely focus his professional activities on combating the global threat of AMR. AMR Insights informs, educates and connects professionals with the aim to curb Antimicrobial
resistance. AMR Insights has the ambition to ultimately grow out to the global information platform on Antimicrobial resistance. Maarten is committed to eliminating antimicrobial resistance because he does not accept that millions of innocent people need to die as a result of resistant bacteria and other microorganisms.

Johan Bengtsson-Palme (SE)

University of Gothenburg

Johan Bengtsson-Palme is an Assistant Professor at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. He does research in the fields of microbiology and microbial ecology, specifically targeting antibiotic resistance and interactions in bacterial communities through large-scale experimental work, metagenomics and bioinformatics.

Dr. Bengtsson-Palme is the coordinator of the EMBARK Project, which works towards Establishing a Monitoring Baseline for Antimicrobial Resistance in Key environments. The missions of the project are (1) to establish a baseline for how common resistance is in different environments and where various types of resistance can be expected to be found, (2) to standardize different methods for resistance surveillance and identify high-priority target that should be used for efficient monitoring, and (3) to enable detection of
emerging resistance threats in the environment.

BARTH F. SMETS (DK)

Technical University of Denmark

Barth F. Smets is Professor of Environmental Microbiology at the Technical University of Denmark. His research tries to bridge environmental engineering and microbial ecology. His research group uses both experimental (microscopic, molecular, omic) tools and computational (agent and continuum models) approaches to study fundamental and applied microbial ecological questions, with a focus on mixed microbial communities within water engineering applications. Central interests are the ecology of antibiotic resistance genes, the microbial ecology of drinking water production systems, dynamics and control of nitrogen-fueled microbial communities, and a general effort to understand the forces that shape and control microbial communities and their activities. He has authored more than 200 ISI publications, with an H-index of 42.

Maarten van Dongen (NL)

AMR Insights

Maarten van Dongen is originally a molecular & medical microbiologist. After his PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, he has worked for the international pharma and biopharma industry in The Netherlands, Switzerland, Finland and Belgium. Later he advised Netherlands and international public and private organizations in the domain of Life Sciences. As an advisor Maarten was increasingly asked to lead large projects in the field of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). These include an international study into the presence of resistant bacteria
on farmed fish and shrimps. Likewise he was responsible for a project aiming to describe the development of bacterial resistance in mathematical models. In 2015, he was asked by the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports to establish a national collaborative structure for the development of new antibiotics. In 2016 Maarten took the initiative, together with 12 Dutch organisations, to investigate the feasibility of a new to set up global information platform on AMR. On the basis of the positive outcome, he decided in 2017 to set up AMR Insights and to entirely focus his professional activities on combating the global threat of AMR. AMR Insights informs, educates and connects professionals with the aim to curb Antimicrobial
resistance. AMR Insights has the ambition to ultimately grow out to the global information platform on Antimicrobial resistance. Maarten is committed to eliminating antimicrobial resistance because he does not accept that millions of innocent people need to die as a result of resistant bacteria and other microorganisms.

Maarten van Dongen (NL)

AMR Insights

Maarten van Dongen is originally a molecular & medical microbiologist. After his PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, he has worked for the international pharma and biopharma industry in The Netherlands, Switzerland, Finland and Belgium. Later he advised Netherlands and international public and private organizations in the domain of Life Sciences. As an advisor Maarten was increasingly asked to lead large projects in the field of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). These include an international study into the presence of resistant bacteria
on farmed fish and shrimps. Likewise he was responsible for a project aiming to describe the development of bacterial resistance in mathematical models. In 2015, he was asked by the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports to establish a national collaborative structure for the development of new antibiotics. In 2016 Maarten took the initiative, together with 12 Dutch organisations, to investigate the feasibility of a new to set up global information platform on AMR. On the basis of the positive outcome, he decided in 2017 to set up AMR Insights and to entirely focus his professional activities on combating the global threat of AMR. AMR Insights informs, educates and connects professionals with the aim to curb Antimicrobial
resistance. AMR Insights has the ambition to ultimately grow out to the global information platform on Antimicrobial resistance. Maarten is committed to eliminating antimicrobial resistance because he does not accept that millions of innocent people need to die as a result of resistant bacteria and other microorganisms.

Roundtable Moderator

Maarten van Dongen (NL)

AMR Insights

Maarten van Dongen is originally a molecular & medical microbiologist. After his PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, he has worked for the international pharma and biopharma industry in The Netherlands, Switzerland, Finland and Belgium. Later he advised Netherlands and international public and private organizations in the domain of Life Sciences. As an advisor Maarten was increasingly asked to lead large projects in the field of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). These include an international study into the presence of resistant bacteria
on farmed fish and shrimps. Likewise he was responsible for a project aiming to describe the development of bacterial resistance in mathematical models. In 2015, he was asked by the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports to establish a national collaborative structure for the development of new antibiotics. In 2016 Maarten took the initiative, together with 12 Dutch organisations, to investigate the feasibility of a new to set up global information platform on AMR. On the basis of the positive outcome, he decided in 2017 to set up AMR Insights and to entirely focus his professional activities on combating the global threat of AMR. AMR Insights informs, educates and connects professionals with the aim to curb Antimicrobial
resistance. AMR Insights has the ambition to ultimately grow out to the global information platform on Antimicrobial resistance. Maarten is committed to eliminating antimicrobial resistance because he does not accept that millions of innocent people need to die as a result of resistant bacteria and other microorganisms.

Speakers

James M. Tiedje (US)

Michigan State University

James M. Tiedje is University Distinguished Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, and of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences, and is Director of the Center for Microbial Ecology at Michigan State University. He received his B.S. degree from Iowa State University and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Cornell University. His research focuses on microbial ecology, physiology and diversity, especially regarding the nitrogen cycle, biodegradation of environmental pollutants and use of molecular methods to understand microbial community structure and function. His group has discovered several microbes that biodegrade chlorinated pollutants and is using genomics to better understand microbial functions in their environment. He has served as Editor-in-Chief of Applied and Environmental Microbiology and Editor of Microbial and Molecular Biology Reviews. He has over 500 refereed publications including seven in Science and Nature. He shared the 1992 Finley Prize from UNESCO for research contributions in microbiology of international significance, is Fellow of the AAAS (The American Association for the Advancement of Science), the American Academy of Microbiology, and the Soil Science Society of America, and is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. He was President of the American Society for Microbiology and the International Society for Microbial Ecology.

Elizabeth Wellington (UK)

University of Warwick

Professor Elizabeth Wellington is director of Warwick Environmental Systems Interdisciplinary Centre (WESIC) at the University of Warwick. She holds a personal chair and, with her research group, is involved in the study of bacteria in soil, water and survival of pathogenic bacteria in the environment. Expert in environmental transmission routes for antimicrobial resistant bacteria and their resistance genes. Research has determined hot spots for environmental reservoirs including wastewater treatment plants, run-off from land and storm drains (CSOs). Analysis of human gut flora from prevalence of AMR genes (ARG) in sewage provided evidence that extremely resistant E.coli were being disseminated. She has a long term interest in microbial communities in soil and their activities in the rhizosphere using metaomics to study metabolic processes below ground. Prof Wellington has prior experience of extensive translational research as coordinator of 5 EU projects and PI on a SysMO grant focused on studying metabolic switches involved in antibiotic production. Major role as PI in Defra funded work to develop molecular methods for direct detection of Mycobacterium bovis in soil and faeces. A further relevant activity is the co-ordination of a metagenomics network, ComMet, sponsored by BBSRC and focused on handling large data sets and bioinformatics related to metagenome mining. She is a member of the MRC AMR Steering Group. Advisor to Defra on AMR and pathogen ecology.

Johan Bengtsson-Palme (SE)

University of Gothenburg

Johan Bengtsson-Palme is an Assistant Professor at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. He does research in the fields of microbiology and microbial ecology, specifically targeting antibiotic resistance and interactions in bacterial communities through large-scale experimental work, metagenomics and bioinformatics.

Dr. Bengtsson-Palme is the coordinator of the EMBARK Project, which works towards Establishing a Monitoring Baseline for Antimicrobial Resistance in Key environments. The missions of the project are (1) to establish a baseline for how common resistance is in different environments and where various types of resistance can be expected to be found, (2) to standardize different methods for resistance surveillance and identify high-priority target that should be used for efficient monitoring, and (3) to enable detection of emerging resistance threats in the environment.

Barth F Smets (DK)

Technical University of Denmark

Barth F. Smets is Professor of Environmental Microbiology at the Technical University of Denmark. His research tries to bridge environmental engineering and microbial ecology. His research group uses both experimental (microscopic, molecular, omic) tools and computational (agent and continuum models) approaches to study fundamental and applied microbial ecological questions, with a focus on mixed microbial
communities within water engineering applications. Central interests are the ecology of antibiotic resistance genes, the microbial ecology of drinking water production systems, dynamics and control of nitrogen-fueled microbial communities, and a general effort to understand the forces that shape and control microbial communities and their activities. He has authored more than 200 ISI publications, with an H-index of 42.

Windi Muziasari (FI)

Resistomap

Dr. Windi Muziasari has gained years of experience and the know-how to monitor antibiotic resistance from environmental samples such as wastewater, rivers, lakes, soils and manure using a high-throughput gene profiling during her PhD and PostDoc at the University of Helsinki. She wanted other researchers and healthcare professionals to gain easy access to this technology and that was why she moved from academia to entrepreneurship by founding Resistomap in 2018. Resistomap is the first company in the world to commercialize antibiotic resistance monitoring service in the environment. Headquartered in Helsinki, Resistomap's mission is to mitigate the spread of antibiotic resistance by providing robust tools for monitoring. Resistomap combines the molecular genetics method and data science to provide a service for antibiotic resistance monitoring comprehensively and fast. Currently Resistomap has served over 50 projects globally.

Joakim Larsson (SE)

University of Gothenburg

Joakim Larsson is a Professor in Environmental Pharmacology at the Department of Infectious Disease, University of Gothenburg, Sweden. He received his PhD in animal physiology in 2000 in Gothenburg, and after two years of guest research at marine labs in Canada and USA, he decided to
combine his interest for the environment with medicine. He became associate professor in human physiology in 2007 and full professor in 2013. From 2016 he is director for the multidisciplinary Centre for Antibiotic Resistance Research (CARe) at University of Gothenburg, involving more than 100 researches from six faculties. Larsson has (co)-authored more than 150 papers, and he is among the 1% most highly cited researchers on Web of Science according to Clarivate Analytics. His earlier work on environmental pollution from drug manufacturing, and his research on selective
concentrations of antibiotics has contributed various management initiatives across the world. The research of his own research group focusses today mainly on the environmental dimensions of antibiotic resistance. Current research projects include e.g. research on: the role of antibiotics and
biocides in the development (selection, transfer) of antibiotic resistance; understanding the evolutionary history of antibiotic resistance acquisition in pathogens; exploration of the environmental resistome for novel resistance genes; surveillance of resistance in the human population using sewage bacteria; environmental transmission of resistant pathogens; as well as
both technical and societal measures to reduce environmental pollution with antibiotics and antibiotic resistant bacteria.