Basic microbiological research can reveal microbial vulnerabilities that can be exploited in antibiotic development, as well as the mechanisms by which bacteria become resistant to antibiotics.
The development of new antibiotics is likely to depend on an improved understanding of microbial biology, which can identify potential new targets for antimicrobial drug development.
In addition, a deeper understanding of the mechanisms of antimicrobial resistance, and how resistance genes are shared among organisms, will inform strategies to combat the spread of resistance.
As well as antimicrobial strategies targeting infectious organisms directly, an alternative approach is to harness the body's own defences. The nature of host responses to infection, and how they might be boosted to combat infection, are therefore an important focus of research.
A further important theme of research is the body's microbial communities - how they may protect against infection and how they are affected by antibiotic usage. Microbiomic studies are thus of growing importance.