Understanding our gut reaction to antibiotics

20 February 2020

Dr Adam Stewart, a Medical Research Fellow at The University of Queensland’s (UQ) Centre of Clinical Research, was awarded an Avant Doctor in Training Research Scholarship at a ceremony in Sydney this week.

The scholarship program provides funding to assist emerging researchers to conduct studies which promote better patient health outcomes. 

In Dr Stewart’s case that means investigating the effects of new and old antibiotics on human gut flora.

“We know that, on the whole, antibiotics have a detrimental effect on our resident ‘good’ bacteria,” he said.

“This can lead to patients experiencing gastrointestinal side effects and additional infections within the bowel.

“What I’m trying to understand is exactly what effect each specific antibiotic has on our gut microbiome.

“This will help doctors and clinicians prescribe not only the most effective antibiotics, but those which have the least detrimental effects on the patient.”

Dr Stewart hopes his research will also contribute to the global understanding around antimicrobial resistance, listed by the World Health Organisation as one of the largest threats to global health, food security and development today.

“The more we understand about the effect of individual antibiotics, the greater the insights into their resistance burden," he said. 

“This will lead to better treatment decisions and allow us to develop novel antibiotics which have a reduced impact on our gut microbiome.”

Faculty of Medicine Communications, med.media@uq.edu.au, +61 7 3365 5118, +61 436 368 746.