Prestigious fellowship for AMR researcher

Dr Esmita Charani standing in the University's Victoria Building

Dr Esmita Charani, a Reader in the David Price Evans Group in the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, has been awarded a prestigious Wellcome Trust Career Development Fellowship to further her research in applying social sciences to the challenges of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

This four-year fellowship will see Dr Charani carry out a body of research based at the University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa, investigating the intersectionality of power dynamics, hierarchies, and health-seeking and health-providing behaviours in hospital settings across different cultural boundaries in South Africa and India.

The work builds on existing collaborations with UCT, established though a previous ESRC funded programme which sought to apply social sciences to the challenges of antimicrobial resistance.

Prof Marc Mendelson from the University of Cape Town said: “The award of a Wellcome Trust Career Development Fellowship to Esmita Charani is a fitting testament to her exceptional body of social sciences research in the field of AMR. University of Cape Town is delighted to host this outstanding young scientist and we look forward to this important new phase in her work.”

Professor Holmes, David Price Evans Chair in Infectious Diseases and Global Health said: “We are absolutely delighted that Esmita has been successful in this application. This recognises not just her tremendous personal strengths as a researcher and leader the field, but also the importance of this topic, which simply must be addressed if the inequalities we see in healthcare are to be addressed”.

Dr Charani has worked in the field of antimicrobial resistance research for over ten years, obtaining her PhD at Imperial College after a first career as a Clinical Pharmacist. She is a Global Health Fellow with the Office of the Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for England and an ESCMID Fellow, a title which recognizes individuals who have achieved professional excellence and rendered outstanding service to the profession and the society. The Academy of Medical sciences also awarded Esmita a visiting professorship with India. She has recently published work in the Lancet Global Health on the use of imagery in infectious disease which has proposed a framework to guide practice.

She said of the award: “I am hugely excited that the Wellcome Trust has given me the opportunity to conduct this research with colleagues in South Africa and India. The aim of this innovative programme of work is to deliver a significant shift in understanding of the intersection of sociocultural drivers of health and antimicrobial resistance. This opportunity means a great deal not only to me but the teams in South Africa and India. I am extremely grateful for all the support I have received from the University of Liverpool and UCT in making this fellowship possible. Through my commitment and ongoing research at both institutes I intend to build opportunities for bidirectional research and collaboration.”