Dr Adam Roberts

Reader, Antimicrobial Chemotherapy and Resistance

Graduated in Applied Biology from Coventry University in 1995 and with a PhD in molecular microbiology from the University of London in 2002. Worked as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Lecturer and Senior Lecturer at University College London until joining LSTM in February 2017.

His research activities focus on the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance amongst bacteria and the development of new drugs in order to treat infections. He is an advisor to the Longitude Prize and the Royal Society of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, runs The Transposon Registry and co-ordinates the JPIAMR funded Network of European and African Researchers on AMR (NEAR-AMR).


Biological consequences of acquisition of AMR within the Enterobacteriaceae; Acquisition of resistance can carry a biological cost which can reduce the fitness of the hosts. We are looking at ways of maximising this biological cost in order to minimise the persistence of resistance once a selection pressure is removed. We are aiming to be able to inform clinicians of treatment regimens which will do exactly this when multi-drug resistance occurs.

Molecular biology of mobile genetic elements; Mobile genetic elements are segments of DNA responsible for the dissemination of AMR amongst bacteria. We are working towards understanding the molecular mechanisms which govern both intra- and intercellular mobility with a translational focus of using this knowledge to prevent their spread and also use them as tools in order to reduce AMR.

Antimicrobial Drug Discovery; In order to tackle the increasing lack of available antibiotics, we need new drugs. We have a citizen science project; “Swab and Send” that aims to search for these whilst at the same time engaging public, schools and other groups about the issues surrounding AMR. We are currently working on novel environmental isolates which can produce compounds capable of inhibiting the growth of drug resistant Enterobacteriaceae and Candida albicans.

Antimicrobial Development; We are analysing the activity of novel antimicrobial compounds in order to determine their targets, mechanisms of action and the potential for resistance development in target pathogens.


Microbiology Society,
Society of Applied Microbiology,
Royal Society of Biology,
British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy.

Fellow: Higher Education Academy

Selected publications

  • Hong WD, Benayoud F, Nixon GL, Ford L, Johnston KL, Clare RH, Cassidy A, Cook DAN, Siu A, Shiotani M, Webborn PJH, Kavanagh S, Aljayyoussi G, Murphy E, Steven A, Archer J, Struever D, Frohberger SJ, Ehrens A, Hübner MP, Hoerauf A, Roberts AP, Hubbard ATM, Tate EW, Serwa RA, Leung SC, Qie L, Berry NG, Gusovsky F, Hemingway J, Turner JD, Taylor MJ, Ward SA, O'Neill PM. (2019) AWZ1066S, a highly specific anti-Wolbachia drug candidate for a short-course treatment of filariasis. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 116(4):1414-1419. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1816585116

    Adler H, Nikolaou E, Gould K, Hinds J, Collins AM, Connor V, Hales C, Hill H, Hyder-Wright AD, Zaidi SR, German EL, Gritzfeld JF, Mitsi E, Pojar S, Gordon SB, Roberts AP, Rylance J, Ferreira DM. (2019) Pneumococcal colonization in healthy adult research participants in the conjugate vaccine era, United Kingdom, 2010-2017. J Infect Dis. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiz034

    Botelho J, Roberts AP, León-Sampedro R, Grosso F, Peixe L. (2018) Carbapenemases on the move: it's good to be on ICEs. Mobile DNA. 9:37. doi: 10.1186/s13100-018-0141-4

    Podnecky NL, Fredheim EGA, Kloos J, Sørum V, Primicerio R, Roberts AP, Rozen DE, Samuelsen Ø, Johnsen PJ. (2018). Conserved collateral antibiotic susceptibility networks in diverse clinical strains of Escherichia coli. Nature Communications. 9(1):3673. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-06143-y

    B Liang, AP Roberts, X Xu, C Yang, X Yang, J Wang, S Yi, Y Li, Q Ma, F Wu, S Qiu,, H Song. (2018) Characterization of a transferable plasmid-borne mcr-1 in a colistin-resistant Shigella flexneri isolate. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2018 Apr 2;84(8). pii: e02655-17. doi: 10.1128/AEM.02655-17

    Tansirichaiya S, Reynolds LJ, Cristarella G, Wong LC, Rosendahl K, Roberts AP. (2018). Reduced Susceptibility to Antiseptics Is Conferred by Heterologous Housekeeping Genes. Microb Drug Resist. 24(2):105-112. doi: 10.1089/mdr.2017.0105

    L Shaw, ALR Ribeiro, AP Levine, N Pontikos, F Balloux, AW Segal, AP Roberts, A Smith, (2017) The Human Salivary Microbiome Is Shaped by Shared Environment Rather than Genetics: Evidence from a Large Family of Closely Related Individuals. mBio, Vol 8, Issue 5, e01237-17.