2019/12/06 12:50:00 GMT+1

Infections by multi-resistant bacteria and the lack of effectiveness of antibiotics are one of the biggest threats to Global Public Health. However, although the most dramatic consequences are observed in the clinical environment, the problem of the dissemination of antibiotic resistance derives from the environment.

Faced with this situation, a holistic (One Health) and multidisciplinary approach is required to elaborate on the role of the environment in the generation and spread of antibiotic resistance and hence contribute to minimising this worrying risk for the environmental health of animals and people.


In this context, in June 2018, different research groups from the Basque Autonomous Community shared the need to establish a work environment to contribute to the search for solutions to the problem of antibiotic resistance. Consequently, the creation of a Joint Research Laboratory (JRL) on ENVIRONMENTAL ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE within the Sustainable and Healthy Land Pole was proposed to Euskampus.

The main objective of this initiative is to promote and lead scientific research and knowledge transfer in relation to the increase in resistance to antibiotics and the risk that this poses for animal and human environmental health.

On 30th November 2018, a collaboration agreement was signed between the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), NEIKER-Basque Institute for Agricultural Research and Development and the Basque Centre for Climate Change (BC3). The following research groups ( chief researchers in brackets) participate in it:


Dept. of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the Biofisika Institute (Itziar Alkorta)

Dept. of Analytical Chemistry (Néstor Etxebarria)

PiE-Plentzia Marine Station and Dept. of Zoology and Animal Cell Biology (Manu Soto)

Dept. of Chemical Engineering and the Environment (Estilita Ruiz)

Dept. of Immunology, Microbiology and Parasitology (Lucía Gallego)

Dept. of Plant Biology and Ecology (Maite Lacuesta and Usue Pérez)

Dept. of Pharmacy and Food Science (Luis Javier R. Barron) BC3-Basque Centre for Climate Change (María José Sanz) NEIKER-Tecnalia (Carlos Garbisu)

The presence of these members guarantees the multidisciplinary nature required by the themes proposed. More specifically, it enables the problem of antibiotic resistance to be addressed from numerous fields of knowledge, e.g. biochemistry, molecular biology, medicine, chemistry, microbiology, toxicology, agronomy, food production, environment, etc. The participating research teams also have experience in complementary themes of relevance for the fulfilment of this network's overall goal, namely, the generation of knowledge and value for society in the field of the generation and dissemination of environmental antibiotic resistance through research, teaching and dissemination activities.

Amongst the different and varied activities carried out this year (September 2018 to September 2019), we would like to highlight the following:

PhD Theses co-directed among the members of the JRL.

There are three PhD theses under way that are related to the JRL theme although they are not being co-directed.

Masters Degree projects co-directed among the members of the JRL (academic year 2018 - 2019):

Title: Lurzoruko bakterio komunitateetan eragindako tolerantzia oxitetraziklina dosi desberdinen aurrean (Environmental Agrobiology Masters Degree Final Project)

Student: Maddi Artamendi

Masters Degree Final Project Supervision: Itziar Alkorta, Carlos Garbisu.

Diploma Final Projects co-managed among the members of the JRL (academic year 2018 - 2019):

Title: Efecto del antibiótico encapsulado en nanopartículas lipídicas sólidas en bacterias Gram+ y Gram- (Effect of encapsulated antibiotics on solid lipid nano-particles in Gram+ and Gram- bacteria, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Diploma Final Project)

Student: Eva Armendáriz Burgoa

Diploma Final Project Supervision: Itziar Alkorta and Lucía Gallego

Faculty: Science and Technology, UPV/EHU

And in reference to the Press and radio appearances we want to mention the following:

  1. María José Sanz: Interview on Bulevar Radio Euskadi (7th January 2019). 
  2. Carlos Garbisu: La Mecánica del Caracol (radio programme), The dispersion of the resistance to antibiotics in the environment (in Spanish) (10th January 2019). 
  3. Carlos Garbisu: TED Talk, Resistance to antibiotics: the biggest threat to humanity (in Spanish) (9th May 2019). 
  4. Itziar Alkorta: Participation in the 'ANTIBIÓTICOS' programme broadcast on 22nd December 2018 on 'LA OTRA CIENCIA', La Otra by Telemadrid TV channel. 
  5. Itziar Alkorta: “Neurririk gabe erabili dugu antibiotikoak” Argia Journal, Argikontra section (17th February 2019). 
  6. Lucía Gallego: Interview in El Correo/Diario Vasco by Terry Basterra, “The Basque Country is the second lowest community in the consumption of antibiotics” (6th May 2019). 

Zientzia Astea UPV/EHU 2018

  1. "Hunting Superbacteria" Stand
  2. “Hunting Bacteria in Action” Workshop at Bizkaia Aretoa on November 2018. 

 Dissemination activities by the members of the JRL:

  1. The conversation “Nine things that the next government can do for science”
  2. Campusa “Nine things that the next government can do for science” Zientzia Azoka 2019: Mentor of the research project on antibiotic resistance by a group of secondary school students from Leitza Institute.

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