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Dr Adam Roberts
Department of Microbial Diseaes
UCL Eastman Dental Institute
256 Gray's Inn Road
Tel: 2034561044
Fax: 2034561127
  • Senior Lecturer
  • Microbial Diseases
  • Eastman Dental Institute
  • Faculty of Medical Sciences

Adam graduated with an Honours degree in Applied Biology from Coventry University in 1995. In 1996 he began research at the Institute of Medical Sciences at the University of Aberdeen , investigating the molecular genetics of Tn5397, a conjugative transposon found in Clostridium difficile . He moved from Aberdeen to the Eastman Dental Institute in 1998 to complete his PhD.
Adam was appointed as a Research Fellow at the Eastman in 1999, to Lecturer in 2006 and to Senior Lecturer in 2012.

News from the Group

20th August 2014; Liam and Enas have recently been awarded full funding to present their work at the Antimicrobial Use and Antimicrobial Resistance in Foodborne Pathogens workshop in Bangkok, Thailand. http://www.ucl.ac.uk/eastman/about/news/articles/140820-antibiotic-resistance-thailand 

25th September 2014; New PhD student joins the group - welcome to Supanan Sucharit who will be supervised by myself and Dr Sean Nair.

8th September 2014; New review published; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25250243

2nd October 2014; Ajijur, Liam, Enas and Supathep all receive a fully funded place at the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy meeting in Birmingham scheduled for November. Well done.

8th October 2014; Supathep wins the Deans Poster Prize at the Research Away Day - congratulations.

20th October; New review published; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25368607

21st October 2014; New PhD student joins the group - welcome to Zeina Alkudmani who will be supervised by Prof Peter Mullany and myself.

4th November 2014; New review published; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25476764

6th January 2015; Nilesh and Sarika both awarded their MSc. Sarika receives a distinction for her project investigating the transfer of bacteria from patients to dental uniforms during clinical practice - congratulations to both.

7th January 2015; New review published; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25576774

2nd February 2015: New research article published; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25636331

12th February 2015: "Swab and Send" Crowd-funding drug discovery project launched; https://ucl.hubbub.net/p/swab-and-send/ 

25th February 2015; New research article published; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25673660 

9th March 2015; An excellent lab outing to see the film "Resistance" at University of Birmingham followed by a public debate on the topic.

16th March 2015; Enas receives a FEMS' Young Scientist Congress Grant to attend the upcoming 6th FEMS Congress of European Microbiologists taking place in June. Also she is awarded Associate Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy. Well done.

19th March 2015; Ajijur, Enas, Liam and Supathep each receive a Society for General Microbiology Travel Grant to present their work at the 6th FEMS Congress of European Microbiologists. Excellent result and well done to all.

Research Summary

Current Research

His research is concentrated on investigating the genetic basis for transferable antimicrobial resistance and virulence, predominantly in the Firmicutes. In addition he has a long standing interest in mobile genetic elements (MGEs) found throughout all domains of life. During his investigations new mobile genetic elements have been discovered and characterized. One family of mobile elements that Adam is particularly interested in is the "conjugative transposons" or "integrative conjugative elements". These common and highly promiscuous mobile elements can transfer antibiotic resistance genes from one species of bacteria to another.

Adam has also demonstrated transfer of conjugative transposons within oral biofilms. There is strong evidence that mobility of these elements may be stimulated by the presence of the antibiotic which they confer resistance to. To this end, his other main area of research is the investigation of the transcriptional and translational control mechanisms of these mobile elements.

Adam is currently involved in projects investigating the contribution of mobile genetic elements to, and the molecular basis of virulence of Clostridium difficile. Additionally he has projects investigating the emergence and persistence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in humans, the molecular evolution of mobile genetic elements and their biological cost to the host cell, mobile genetic elements and resistance genes in microbial metagemones from human, animal and environmental samples and horizontal gene transfer in clinically important biofilms. 

His group is currently funded by the Schlumberger Foundation flagship program; Faculty for the Future, DEFRA, Commonwealth Scholarships, The Saudi Arabian, Malaysian and Thai Governments, The Eastman Foundation for Oral Research and Training (EFFORT) and UCL.

Current Group

PhD students

Ms Zeina Alkudmani, (Clostridium difficile virulence), Ms Asyura Amdan (Biofilms, resistance and MGEs), Ms Enas Newire; (Antibiotic resistance and MGEs), Mr Ajijur Rahman (Metagenomics, resistance and HGT), Mr Liam Reynolds; (Metagenomic drug and drug resistance discovery), Ms Supanan Sucharit (metagenomic enzyme discovery), Mr Supathep Tansirichaiya (Resistance, MGEs & Metagenomics).

MSc / MSci / BSc students

Ms Nikoleta Antou (MSc), Mr Seyid Aydin (MSci), Mr Marco Cristarella (MSc)

Previous members of the group (and where they are now);

Dr Mohammed Al-Haroni (Tromsø University, Norway), Dr Amitabha Bhattacharjee; (Assam University, India), Dr Michael Brouwer (Central Veterinary Institute, Netherlands), Dr Lena Ciric; (UCL, UK), Dr Azmiza Jasni; (Universiti Putra, Malaysia), Dr Francesco Santoro; (Siena University, Italy), Dr Maria Amalie Seier-Petersen; (Technical University of Denmark & National Food Institute, Denmark), Dr Xiaobo Song; (Tromsø University, Norway), Dr Philip Warburton; (Anglia Ruskin University, UK), Dr Rachael Whalan, Dr Rachel Williams; (UCL, UK).

Research Opportunities

In Adam's lab there are currently projects available investigating various aspects of mobile genetic elements and antimicrobial resistance. Additional projects are available investigating the human microbiome. Potential MSc and PhD students and individuals suitable for personal fellowships should contact Adam directly.

Related sites

Tn number Registry; http://www.ucl.ac.uk/eastman/research/departments/microbial-diseases/tn

Mobile Genetic Elements; http://www.landesbioscience.com/journals/mge/

Swab and Send; https://ucl.hubbub.net/p/swab-and-send/ 

Academic Background
2009 PGCLTHE Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education – Education University College London
2002 PhD Doctor of Philosophy – Microbiology University of London
1995 BSc Hons Bachelor of Science – Applied Biology Coventry University
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