Dr Katie Ledingham

Dr Katie LedinghamResearch Topic Title: ‘Social-Cultural Approaches to Microbial Life in an Era of Antimicrobial Resistance.’

We live in a moment where newly emerging infectious diseases and multi-drug resistant infections are unravelling the taken-for-grantedness of modern life and modern medicine. By 2050 it is predicted that increasing rates of drug resistant infections may contribute to as many as 10 million deaths per year (O’Neill, 2016). We also live in a moment of scientific possibility and innovation where it is now possible to engineer bacteria to detect arsenic and to alter the genome of the Anopheles gambiae mosquito so that it is less able to transmit the malaria parasite. My research explores the contested politics and possibilities associated with these developments. I am interested in a) how emerging and shifting configurations of science and technology might enable us to understand microbial life forms in new ways b) the role of science and technology in helping to address some of the grand global challenges facing society today (such as AMR, malaria and dengue fever). Gene drive mosquitoes, for example, may help to tackle malaria and the threat of increasing insecticide resistance but only if the technology is developed equitably with African partners in an ecologically sensitive manner that is alert to the social-cultural contexts in which it is intended to operate. Throughout the course of my research I work closely with a variety of stakeholders including policy makers, governing bodies and technology developers.

Mentor/s: Professor Henry Buller; Professor Mark Jackson


Ledingham, K [Principal author] (2019) Antibiotic resistance: using a cultural contexts of health approach to address a global challenge. WHO Europe.

Hartley, S., Thizy, D., Ledingham, K Coulibaly, M., Diabaté, A., Dicko, B., Diop., S., Kayondo, J., Namukwaya, A., Nourou, R. Toé, LP. (2019) ‘Knowledge Engagement in Gene Drive,’ PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases.

Ledingham, K. (2018) ‘Social-cultural dynamics of antibacterial resistance: expanding policy horizons, opening up new fields of intervention,’ available at: http://cultureandhealth.exeter.ac.uk/2018/01/socio-cultural-dynamics-of-antibacterial-resistance-expanding-policy-horizons-opening-up-new-fields-of-intervention/

E-mail: k.a.ledingham@exeter.ac.uk