ISF/ESCMID Sepsis Award

2019 recipient of ISF-ESCMID Sepsis Award

Maria João Mendes de Carvalho

Institute of Infection and Immunity, Cardiff University

School of Medicine

Cardiff, United Kindom


Research interests:

The International Sepsis Forum(ISF)is a non-profit public American charity with the mission to improve outcomes for patients with sepsis. Its award gives the recipient USD 500 and the opportunity to present their work during a session jointly organised by ISF and ESCMID.

This year’s winner is Maria João Mendes de Carvalho from the Institute of Infection and Immunity at the Cardiff University School of Medicine (Cardiff, UK), where she works at Prof. Tim R. Walsh’ laboratory. She will be presenting her insights on the spread and epidemiology of bacteria and their genetic characteristics, gleaned through the BARNARDS study, of which she is the lead scientist. BARNARDS (Burden of Antibiotic Resistance in Neonates from Developing Societies) is a network of clinical sites among seven different African and South-Asian low- and middle-income countries. It aims at providing the means, support, network and tools to understand the impact of antibiotic resistance on neonatal morbidity and mortality in addition to identifying possible interventions to minimise such impact, particularly, in regards to sepsis in infants <60 days old. During BARNARDS, Maria’s team (i) established the incidence of sepsis of infants <60 days old at these sites, (ii) described the risk factors for sepsis in these infants, (iii) characterised the aetiological agents of sepsis by whole genome sequencing and bioinformatics analysis, and antibiotic susceptibility profiles, and (iv) investigated the epidemiology of multidrug resistant Gram-negative bacteria carried as normal microbiota in mothers and infants and among the clinical sites’ environment, and studied associations between carriage of these genes and sepsis. Maria moved to Cardiff following the completion of her PhD in the Microbiology laboratory at the University of Aveiro, Portugal, funded by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology and conducted under the supervision of Prof Antonio Correia.