Born in the twilight of antibiotics - Implications of Antibiotic Use to the Preterm Infant Respiratory Microbiome and Resistome Development

This project addresses the urgent need for improved evidence-based guidance for antibiotic use in newborns, with focus on ecological and molecular properties of antimicrobial resistance, with implications for guidelines and surveillance. We wish in particular to investigate the difference between antibiotic resistance in India and Norway. The project is part of the Born in the twilight programme, funded by the INDNOR programme from the Norwegian Research Council and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

Newborn baby

Urgent need for evidence-based guidance for antibiotic use

We have now shown that even a narrow spectrum antibiotic such as penicillin V may significantly select for a microbiome profile enriched in antimicrobial resistance genes. As an important part of this project, the group is in the process of completing two studies that will contribute to resistome analysis:

  • an online tool for analysis and visualization of microbiome profiles and resistomes;
  • a new functional metagenomics approach for characterization of new antibiotic resistance genes.

The two tools are expected to find applicability to the study of resistomes not only in humans, but also in diverse hosts and environments. In this project, such tools are used to analyse the effect of antibiotics on the microbiome and resistome of preterm infants.

International Collaboration

Differences in antibiotic resistance prevalence in Norway and India will enable us to compare the effects of antibiotics on the resistome in sets of low and high antibiotic resistance. To gain insights into the mechanisms involved in the response to antibiotics and possible interventions to prevent adverse antibiotic effects later in life, we are using animal and in silico models.

The project focuses on the respiratory microbiome, and is based on collaborations between UiO, Lady Hardinge Medical College & KSCH hospitals in New Delhi and the OUS in Norway.

group picture
The group met in Oslo together with Dr Sushma Nangia in November, 2019. From left: Anna Torwick, Fernanda Petersen, Ulf Dahle, Sushma Nangia, Gabriela Salvadori Silva, Achal Dhariwal. Photo: Private
group meeting at Soria Moria
Group meetings and discussions about the future at Soria Moria Conference Center in Oslo, 2019. Photo: Private
group meeting, skype
The group holds regular meetings with the team in India. Photo: Private

Project Leader

Professor Fernanda Petersen

Partners in India

Dr. Sushma Nangia, Director and professor of Neonatology of LHMC & KSCH, New Dehli, India. Project leader of the division in India

Dr. Sonal Saxena, Professor of Microbiology, LHMC & KSCH, New Dehli, India 

Partners in Norway

Dr Kirsti Haaland, Neonatology, Oslo University Hospital 

Prof. Dag Berild, Department of Infectious Diseases, Oslo University Hospital, and University of Oslo 

Prof. Ola Didrik Saugstad, Professor emeritus at Paediatric Research UiO and Oslo University Hospital 

Ulf Dahle, Specialist Director, Infection Control and Environmental Health, Norwegian Institute of Public Health 

Professor Thomas Kuntziger, Institute of Oral Biology


Sudhanshu Shekhar, Department of Oral biology, UiO

Postdoctorate Fellows

Roger Junges, Department of Oral biology, UiO

Gabriela Salvadori da Silva, Department of Oral biology, UiO

PhD Candidates

Achal Dhariwal, Department of Oral Biology, UiO, and OUS

Polona Rajar, Department of Oral biology, UiO

Head Engineer

Heidi Aarø Åmdal, Department of Oral Biology, UiO

Administration and coordination

Anna Torwick, Department of Oral Biology, UiO 

Group photo
Photo of the UiO group. From the top left: Polona Rajar, Roger Junges, Sudhanshu Shekhar, Achal Dhariwal. From bottom left: Anna Torwick, Rabia Khan, Fernanda Petersen, Gabriela Salvadori da Silva, Heidi Aarø Åmdal




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    Tags: AMR, microbiome, premature infants, babies, antimicrobial resistance By Anna Torwick
    Published July 16, 2020 11:15 AM - Last modified May 19, 2021 9:53 AM