Dr Adrian Muwonge on developing community-tailored solutions to combat antimicrobial resistance

He talks about using the gut microbiome of farmers and their animals in research to combat antimicrobial resistance and the importance of including all stakeholders in discussions, how his main reason for becoming a scientist was to help society, and the importance of having a life outside of academia.

He is a molecular epidemiologist with ten years of research experience at the African human-animal interface. As a University of Edinburgh Chancellor's Fellow, his research currently focuses on integrating one health data streams to inform public health strategies. Beyond the biological signals of the data, he is exploring how such data becomes a shared resource without violating ethical, legal, and social boundaries.

This has led to conversations about a concept we now call "digital one health". He explores this concept specifically in terms of how countries are using One Health to create national action plans (NAPs) to address antimicrobial resistance. One Health is primarily understood as how people across sectors work together, but less so how data streams are integrated.

This work builds on the Fleming Fund's AMR capacity-building activities, which he co-leads in Uganda, Kenya, and Malawi. These all build on the basic research he has done examining the livestock production system drivers of AMR at the human-animal interface in Uganda.

The Roslin Institute is a world-leading bioscience institution that supports his efforts to provide scientific evidence, policy and capacity building for the human-animal interface. Adrian has also recently partnered with the School of informatics to develop digital tools for this interface.


Could you briefly summarise your work?  

I use the gut microbiome of farmers and their animals to study the role of production systems in the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance.

Why is your research important? How is it relevant to people's lives? 

It allows us to develop community-tailored solutions to control antimicrobial resistance and to equitably allocate resources to control strategies.

What are the major challenges in your field? 

The problem we are tackling is multidimensional, so we need to get all stakeholders on board, and that is not easy.

What inspired you to be a scientist? 

To see ideas come to life and hopefully to help society.

What do you like best about your job? What do you like the least? 

I like the freedom to develop and implement ideas.

I do not like looking for money to fund ideas.


If you could have tea with another scientist (alive or dead), who would it be? What would you talk about? 

Gladys West... How did you do at a time when all the odds were against you? 

What is the most unusual thing you have done as a scientist? 

That has yet to happen.

If you weren’t a scientist, what would you be doing? 

A failed comedian!!! 

Do you have any advice for people who want to go into this field of research or start a career as a scientist? 

Your mental health will be tested to the limit, so have something outside academia that is worth living for… 

What do you think are the major challenges facing humanity? How can science help? 

The interface between reality and fiction…is expanding and trust diminishing, how do we organise future societies??? Because science is at the core of this shift it can also contribute to the solution… 

Related Links

Adrian Muwonge profile

The Roslin Institute