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Research project

Understanding transmission leads to better MRSA control (MACOTRA)

Status: Ongoing project,start date: June 2017, end date: June 2020

Unravelling clonal success on a genetic and population level and using a mathematical model to predict rise and shine of MRSA clones; A NL, UK, FR consortium

What we do

About our project

The primary aims of the MACOTRA project are three-fold:
1.To develop and provide a framework for evaluating differences in transmission of MRSA. 
2.To unravel the different contributions to MRSA clonal success on a genetic and population level. 
3.To develop a mathematical model which predicts and unravels the rise and shine of clones

Study material will be epidemiologically well-defined isolates from international collections, and microbiomes from patients.


  • From the bacterial point of view
  • From the human point of view
    • To study the role of MRSA carriage in relation to microbiome of nose and skin. 
  • From the interaction between the host and bacteria 
    • To develop in-vitro models to study differences in strain survival and transmission in the host and in response to decolonisation, antibiotics, disinfectants and microbiome. Skin, plasma and microbiome models will be used.
    • To develop deterministic and individual-based mathematical models of bacterial dynamics, including survival, within human hosts, as well as on transmission dynamics between human hosts. 

Our research focus

Research focus

Our aim is to determine and model the relative importance of the many factors that have been proposed to explain these differences;

  1. variation in antibiotic usage affects the reservoir of MRSA
  2. differences in transmission routes and sources of MRSA
  3. Differences in prevention policies
  4. Differences in survival under local conditions
  5. Genetic flexibility of MRSA
  6. Competition with the local microbiome (host-pathogen interaction)

Novelty, originality and feasibility of the project

MACOTRA will, for the first time, bring together a range of relevant information;

  • Fenotypic and genotypic characteristics for transmission and resistance
  • The epidemiology of these strains, including incidence and reservoirs
  • Antibiotic and antiseptic usage policies, protocols and real-world evidence
  • Relative fitness of different clones, in models relevant to their niche in the host, and pressures such as microbiome competition and antibiotic/antiseptic exposure
  • Potential host-specific interactions impacting on survival

Results will be incorporated into mathematical models to understand different clones and epidemiology, and to predict the impact of changes in antibiotic/antiseptic on MRSA incidence and reservoir.

Funds & Grants



  • Prof Jodi Lindsay
    Institute of Infection and Immunity, St George’s, University of London
    London, UK
  • Dr. Gwenan Knight
    Imperial College London, Commonwealth building, Hammersmith hospital campus
    London, UK
  • Dr. Leo Schouls
    National institute for public health and the environment, Centre for infectious disease control
    Bilthoven, The Netherlands
  • Prof. Gerard Lina
    Universite Claude Bernard Lyon 1, Centre International de Recherche en Infectiologie, Pathogenie des staphylocoques-INSERM
    Lyon, France.

Our team

Prof Dr Margreet Vos

Dr Willem van Wamel

Drs. Valerie Baede

Drs. Mehri Tavakol