Swedish research center expanding to take on antimicrobial resistance

university Gothenburg Göteborg

Research on antibiotic resistance will get a boost when the Center for Antibiotic Resistance Research (CARe) in Gothenburg, Sweden, expands. 

Bacterial resistance to antibiotics is one of the most serious global health threats. More than a million people die annually as a direct result of infections caused by resistant bacteria. Lack of effective antibiotics jeopardizes much of modern health care. Attempts to keep pace with resistance development by inventing new types of antibiotics have, at the same time, largely failed for several decades in a row.

To address this, CARe has been conducting research since 2016. From January 1, 2023, the Center will have a broader base of partners and funders, also including Chalmers University of Technology, Sahlgrenska University Hospital and Region Västra Götaland.

With this new start, CARe will comprise nearly 150 researchers from more than 20 departments across the academic partners. Joakim Larsson of the Department of Infectious Diseases, University of Gothenburg, is the center’s director.

CARe will be stronger and more extensive

“CARe members include, for example, doctors, microbiologists, molecular biologists, chemists, technologists, engineers, environmental scientists, mathematicians, economists, political scientists, architects, and philosophers. In various ways, they all contribute their specific expertise. Extending the collaboration further across more disciplinary boundaries will transform the Center’s ability to make an impact,” Larsson said.

At Chalmers, 10 research groups will be active in CARe after the expansion. Michaela Wenzel, who leads a research group in chemical biology, will be the Center’s deputy director.

“Developing new technologies and innovations to meet society’s acute needs is soundly established in Chalmers’ vision. Current innovative methods of tackling antibiotic resistance make use of groundbreaking nanoscience, materials science, artificial intelligence, and molecular biotechnology, for instance. We, the researchers at Chalmers, are glad to be able to use our expertise and technology platforms to help build an even stronger center,” Wenzel said.

Patient benefits and innovation

Ann-Marie Wennberg is the director of the Sahlgrenska University Hospital and professor at the University of Gothenburg.

“Close collaboration between health care and academia means that research results can yield tangible benefits for patients more rapidly. That’s one reason why Sahlgrenska University Hospital thinks this collaboration is so important. Along with our partners, our ambition is to tackle one of the biggest global health challenges: antibiotic resistance,” Wennberg said.

Region Västra Götaland is involved through the Regional Development Board, which co-funds initiatives to boost innovativeness, and to promote growth and sustainable development, in Västra Götaland. Kristina Jonäng is chair of the board.

“We hope the investment will boost Region Västra Götaland’s attractiveness and benefit innovation and entrepreneurship in infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance. With CARe, West Sweden’s position is strengthened in terms of sustainably meeting a global health and social challenge,” she said.

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