Over one-third of the world’s population suffer from infectious microbial, viral or parasitic disease. Antibiotic-resistant pathogen-induced infections are predicted to cause more deaths than cancer by 2050. Sepsis is one of the 6 WHO Global Health Priorities and is a causative factor in 50% of ALL in-hospital deaths (60% In Ireland).

The COVID-19 pandemic further underlines the impact of infection. Infection is the commonest cause of death in the elderly and a major cause of morbidity/mortality in immune-suppressed patients with cancer or chronic diseases such as diabetes, asthma or neurologic conditions.

Infection and sepsis research at NUI Galway encompasses discovery research on bacterial, parasitic and viral pathogens (including virulence mechanisms, biofilm and antimicrobial resistance); preclinical models (pneumonitis; sepsis); global clinical trials (SOLIDARITY; REMAP-CAP) and advances in clinical practice (VentShare). The strength, scope and adaptability of infection research are underlined by the scale, speed and diversity of the NUI Galway research community response to COVID-19. NUI Galway has recognised the importance of parasitic pathogen research through the appointment of John Dalton as SFI Professor of Molecular Parasitology in 2019. Early detection of infection, which maximises patient outcomes, is an essential research focus, and our infection researchers have an established track record in molecular diagnostics. Regenerative medicine, in response to sepsis, a strategic area for development, will be enabled by this Institute. Novel antimicrobials, therapies and therapy-device combinations to improve treatment for infection and sepsis are major goals spanning discovery research through to patient care, as exemplified by our CHARTER clinical trial of nebuliser-delivered heparin for COVID-19 induced acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

In collaboration with NUI Galway, MedTech experts, infection and sepsis researchers are well placed to address the challenge of complex, medical device implant-related infections involving biofilms that lead to device failure and patient morbidity.