Professor Elizabeth Wellington

Prof Liz Wellington

Professor Liz Wellington is an active member of the Environment theme within the School of Life Sciences at the University of Warwick. She holds a personal chair and, with her research group, is involved in the study of bacteria in soil and survival of pathogenic bacteria in the environment. Research work focuses on understanding the ecological roles for specific bacterial activities including antibiotic production, resistance and exoenzyme production and analysing the impact of lateral gene transfer. During the past decade expertise has been developed in the detection, quantification and analysis of soil microbial communities, including the identification of pathogen reservoirs outside of their hosts. Her group was one of the first to report the molecular detection of antibiotic biosynthesis in soil and co-evolution of resistance in non-producers. Subsequent work indicated that waste disposal practices further disseminate antibiotic resistance genes into the environment. Studying the fate of introduced bacteria in the environment has focused on the survival of pathogens such as Salmonella species, MRSA, Dichelobacter nodosus and slow growing mycobacteria including the M. tuberculosis complex. Recent research produced the first non-invasive methods for monitoring shedding in wild life and cattle infected with bTB in order to elucidate the impact of control measures on transmission.

Research Interests:

  • Antibiotic resistance dissemination, aim to identify reservoirs of drug resistance in the environment
  • Defining environmental reservoirs of pathogenic bacteria in soil and water
  • Biodegradation of recalcitrant compounds and biopolymers in the environment
  • Microbial community analysis and specific expertise in the development of environmental proteomics for extraction and analysis of enzymes from soils and wastes, and in the processing of biopolymers
  • Metagenomics and analyses of microbial gene pools in soil; discovery of novel antibiotic gene clusters
University of Warwick