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A double-edge sword: antibiotic resistance and immune response

Project Description

Resistance to antibiotics is a rising worldwide issue that affects our ability to deal with microbial infections, especially against microbes that avoid the immune response. For infections by resistant isolates, we need to be exploring approaches that harness the immune systems strengths. The innate immune system is your first line of defence against various pathogens. Our lab studies an innate immune pathway called the inflammasome which is responsible for the detection and rapid response to bacterial pathogens invading our body. However, pathogens can also avoid this line of defence and deflect detection by our body. Boosting the innate immune response against those pathogens is a new and innovative approach that has the potential to reduce the burden of antibiotic resistance. Furthermore, there is evidences that antibiotic resistance can influence protection against innate immunity and promote bacterial replication within hosts1. In this project the student will address the hypothesis that there is an effect of antibiotic-resistance on bacterial detection and clearance by the inflammasome, with the aim to identifying approaches by which detection can be stimulated to enhance the clearance of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
To address the hypothesis, you will use a range of primary cells and engineered immune cells and infect them with bacterial pathogens (E.coli) resistant to various antibiotics and assess the innate immune response following infection. Our lab is developing systems to study the innate immune response in humans to translate our discoveries into therapeutics more efficiently. You will receive training in immunology, cell biology and microbiology and will use cutting-edge techniques (e.g., microscopy, proteomic) to address this very important question.
This project is suitable for an applicant with a keen interest in identifying novel approaches to combat bacterial disease, and with good knowledge of human immunology or/and microbiology.

Funding Notes

This is a studentship fully funded for three years and covers: (i) a tax-free annual stipend at the standard Research Council rate (£15,009 estimated for 2020 entry), (ii) research costs, and (iii) tuition fees at the UK/EU rate.

Interviews will take place in May 2020 on a date to be confirmed. The PhD start date is 1st October 2020.


ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: Students with, or expecting to gain, at least an upper second class honours degree, or equivalent, are invited to apply. The interdisciplinary nature of this research project means that we welcome applications from students with backgrounds in any biological, chemical, and/or physical science, or students with mathematical backgrounds who are interested in using their skills in addressing biological questions.

ELIGIBILITY: This studentship is available to UK/EU students only.

How good is research at University of York in Biological Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 44.37

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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