Professor Mark Holmes
Medical and Veterinary Sciences
Lecturers, Professors and College Officers,
Mark Holmes was an undergraduate at Fitzwilliam College, matriculating in 1979. Although a veterinary student he intercalated in computer science and together with Adrian Dickens (Churchill) and Andrew Bray (St Catharine’s) wrote the “Advanced User Guide for the BBC Microcomputer” which helped nurture many of the next generation of computer scientists and is remembered fondly by that generation. Adrian Dickens went on to found Adder Technology based nearby in Bar Hill where he works with his brother Nigel, also a Churchill alumnus.
After a year in veterinary practice Mark returned to Cambridge to do A PhD on canine immunology and was appointed to a lectureship at the veterinary school in Cambridge after post-doctoral work on immune disease in horses.
Mark was appointed to a personal chair in “Microbial Genomics and Veterinary Science” in 2019. His work now focusses on antibiotic resistance in bacteria infecting animals and people. He and his group exploit DNA sequencing of bacteria and laboratory based molecular biology to address the growing problem of antibiotic resistance. His research group discovered a previously unknown livestock-associated MRSA harbouring a novel penicillin resistance gene (mecC). This type of resistance in commonly found in both wildlife and farm animals and is transmitted to people where it can cause serious disease. His research group collaborates around the world addressing research questions about antibiotic resistance including funded collaborations in India, China, Ghana and Nigeria.
He encourages and supports veterinary clinical research within the profession. He co-authored a textbook on how to do clinical research, gives talks and has written numerous articles on the subject. He runs a post-graduate qualification for clinical research forming part of a continuing professional development qualification for veterinary practitioners awarded by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. Mark is also an author of the Handbook of Evidence Based Veterinary Medicine which helps to guide veterinary clinicians to use the results of clinical research to provide the best treatments for their patients.
Mark is a past honorary secretary of the British Small Animal Veterinary Association and was made a Fellow of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in 2016 awarded for meritorious contribution to knowledge.