Dr Naveen Devanga Ragupathi

Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering

Global Challenges Research Fellow, Dr Naveen Devanga Ragupathi, will seek to find a solution for the pressing clinical health problem of antimicrobial resistance due to biofilms in India and other low and middle income countries.

Dr Naveen Devanga Ragupathi

About Dr Naveen Devanga Ragupathi's research:

"Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) among microbes is an increasing public health problem worldwide. Inappropriate/excessive administration of antimicrobial agents has caused disorder in the ecological balance between the host and microorganisms. This is a major, largely unmet problem, estimated by the World Health Organization (WHO) as causing 700,000 deaths every year worldwide with an expected increase to 10 million deaths in the next 35 years. Biofilm formation, a slime-like aggregation in which different types of microorganisms are present in close proximity to each other to shield one another and exchange resistance genes, is one successful strategy by these pathogens to overcome the antimicrobial treatment. Currently these biofilm infections are treated with prolonged high doses of a combination of antibiotics which can lead to a further increase in the AMR. Overcoming the empirical nature of the treatment regime will make a positive difference in the quality of medical care and reduce the development of AMR.

"The Division of Antimicrobial Resistance and Surveillance at the partner institution in this grant, Christian Medical College & Hospital, Vellore (CMC), has been at the forefront of tracking the rise of drug resistant pathogens in India. Researchers in the Sheffield Centre for Antimicrobial Resistance and Biofilms SCARAB at the University of Sheffield have an established track record in biofilm and AMR research and have state-of-the-art laboratory facilities funded by Innovate UK for biofilm research, many of which are unique among academic and commercial labs in the UK. Collaborative effort by these two research groups will attempt to find a solution for the pressing clinical health problem of antimicrobial resistance due to biofilms in India and other low and middle income countries (LMICs).

"Research work carried out as part of my Global Challenge Fellowship will seek to identify adequate treatment regimens by creating a laboratory model for biofilm infections; particularly ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) and central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI), the incidence of which is increasing not only in India but also across the world. This research will help in promoting awareness of resistant bugs and biofilms among healthcare professionals, pharmaceutical industries and general public alike.

"I am delighted to receive a Global Challenge Fellowship which will provide me with the opportunity for capacity building and training in an international set-up at Sheffield. I am looking forward to setting up a biofilm-specialised lab in CMC as a result of the knowledge gained from SCARAB, and will also impart the next-generation long-read sequencing using MinION Oxford Nanopore Technology to SCARAB with my experience from CMC. Through this fellowship, I anticipate a long-term sustainable collaboration between the University of Sheffield and CMC, with a view to building a larger network including other LMIC countries like Thailand, Ghana, Kenya, Bangladesh and Brazil."

Email: n.devangaragupathi@sheffield.ac.uk