History of the Research Group for Genomic Epidemiology

The Unit was established in 1995 following the investigation of the importance of the use of antimicrobial growth promoters for food animals on the selection and spread of resistance.

The research within the unit has mainly been concentrated on investigating the relationships between the use of antimicrobial agents and the occurrence, selection and spread of resistant bacteria and resistance genes.

A continuous monitoring of antimicrobial resistance (DANMAP) was also, as the first place in the world, established within the unit. The research in the section has to a large extent been based on the results from this monitoring. Most of the studies are concentrated on Salmonella, Campylobacter, staphylococci, enterococci and Escherichia coli.

These activities have gained international approval, in 2000 leading to the establishment of WHO Collaborating Centre for antimicrobial resistance in foodborne pathogens and genomics, and in 2006 leading to being appointed EU Reference Laboratory for Antimicrobial Resistance (EURL-AR) by the European Commission.

Development, adaptation, spread and persistence of antimicrobial resistance are not only consequences of the amounts of antimicrobial agents used. Realising this, the unit during the last years has increased its activities within horizontal gene transfer, the advantages and disadvantages of acquiring resistance and evolution of resistance.

As global trade with meat, live animals and travel activity has increased and brings optimal opportunities for spread of new pathogens and resistance, it has been necessary to focus on food safety on an international level. Therefore, focus has lately been on emerging resistance and spread of resistance via imported meat and production animals. The focus has also changed to include basic molecular mechanisms of the infectious process.


Frank Møller Aarestrup
Professor, Head of Research Group
National Food Institute
+45 35 88 62 81
16 FEBRUARY 2020