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Addressing the Hygiene Hypothesis: Environmental Bacteria and their Role in the Control of Intestinal Pathogens

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Sunday, April 28, 2019
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Environmental bacteria have been shown to play a pivotal role in the control of certain gut pathogens, notably Clostridium difficile and Staphylococcus aureus. This is brought about by the production of novel molecules that are able to kill these pathogens on contact. Exposure to environmental bacteria therefore plays a role in controlling natural intestinal diseases. This is linked to the Hygiene Hypothesis where certain segments of the human population are becoming more and more susceptible to diseases, for example, the rise in C. difficile infection in children. In a number of cases (C. difficile and S. aureus) the pathogen is both multi-drug resistant and there are no vaccines leaving antibiotic treatment as the only therapeutic option.

This project will examine the molecules produced by a number of environmental bacteria and determine their mechanistic mode of action. This will involve biochemical and biophysical analysis of secreted molecules as well as in vivo animal studies using C. difficile as a model gut pathogen. Long-term outcomes could lead to novel prophylactic or therapeutic measures for disease control.

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Funding Notes

This is a four year CASE studentship award .The funding provides an annual tax-free living stipend with at the standard RCUK rate with London weighting. The amount is currently at £16,777pa for the 18/19 Academic year.

References

Huynh A. Hong, William T. Ferreira, Siamand Hosseini, Saba Anwar, Krisztina Hitri, Anthony J. Wilkinson, Wilfried Vahjen, Jürgen Zentek, Mikhail Soloviev, & Simon M. Cutting. (2017) The Spore Coat Protein CotE Facilitates Host Colonisation by Clostridium difficile. J. Infect. Diseases. 16:1452-1459. PMID: 28968845

Huynh A. Hong, Krisztina Hitri, Siamand Hosseini, Natalia Kotowicz, Donna Bryan, Fatme Mawas, Anthony J. Wilkinson, Annie van Broekhoven, Jonathan Kearsey & Simon M. Cutting. (2017) Mucosal Antibodies to the C-terminus of Toxin A Prevent Colonization of Clostridium difficile. Infection & Immunity. 85:e01060-16. PMID:28167669

Ian J. Passmore, Marine Letertre, Mark D. Preston, Irene Bianconi, Fauzy Nasher, Huynh A. Hong, Simon Baines, Simon M. Cutting, Jon Swann, Brendan W. Wren and Lisa F. Dawson (2018). Para-cresol production by Clostridium difficile affects the composition of the microbiota and contributes to disease. PLOS Pathogens. 14:e1007191.

How good is research at Royal Holloway, University of London in Biological Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 24.00

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

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