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  Advancing our understanding of mycoplasma and ureaplasma infections among humans and animals

   Cardiff School of Sport and Health Sciences

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  Dr Michael Beeton, Dr Rebecca Aicheler, Dr James Blaxland, Dr Sarah Maddocks  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

The Mycoplasma and Ureaplasma Group based at Cardiff Metropolitan University is seeking motivated and enthusiastic students to undertake research projects on various aspects of Mycoplasma and Ureaplasma spp infection.

Mycoplasmas and ureaplasmas are some of the smallest bacteria in relation to cellular size as well as genomic content. They are responsible for substantial morbidity and mortality among both humans and animals as a result of respiratory tract, urogenital tract as well as severe disseminated infection. Due to the lack of a cell wall, many antibiotics are ineffective, therefore reducing the number of treatment options. 

The Mycoplasma and Ureaplasma Group, led by Dr Mike Beeton, forms one of the subgroups within the Microbiology and Infection Research Group at Cardiff Metropolitan University. The Mycoplasma and Ureaplasma Group has a track record of publishing high quality research in the following areas, all of which have on going projects suitable for development by a suitable PhD candidate.

-         Characterising the mechanisms and prevalence of antimicrobial resistance.

-         Understanding the immune response using cell culture models and human samples.

-         Developing models of biofilm formation and dispersal.

-         Improving diagnostics and screening.

-         Tracking the epidemiology and emergence of mycoplasma infection.

-         Testing and development of novel anti-mycoplasma therapies.

Techniques associated with this project:

During this PhD project, students will learn a range of laboratory techniques which may include bacterial propagation; antimicrobial susceptibility testing; biofilm formation assays; cell culture models of infection; PCR and sequencing; whole-genome sequencing; cell viability assays; ELISA; fluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry. In addition, students will develop critical thinking, experimental design, project management, data analysis and scientific writing skills, all of which are transferable skills relevant to a career in microbiology and/or immunology.

Home applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • 1st or 2.1 honours degree in a relevant subject. Relevant subjects include Microbiology, Biological/Biomedical Sciences, or a closely related discipline.
  • International applicants must meet the following academic criteria:
  • IELTS (or equivalent) of 6.5, a 2.1 honours degree (or equivalent) and a master’s degree in a relevant subject.
Agriculture (1) Biological Sciences (4) Medicine (26)


- Meyer-Sauteur P.M., Chalker, V.J., Berger C., Nir-Paz R. & Beeton M.L. on behalf of the ESGMAC–MyCOVID Study Team. Mycoplasma pneumoniae beyond the COIVD-19 pandemic: where is it? Lancet Microbe. 2022
- Rehman S.U., Day J, Afshar B, Rowlands R.S., Billam H, Joseph A, Guiver M, Maddocks S.E., Chalker V.J., & Beeton M.L. Molecular detection of Mycoplasma amphoriforme and Ureaplasma spp. from patient samples previously investigated for Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection. Clin Microbiol Infect. 2021
- Rowlands R.S, Kragh K, Sahu, S, Maddocks S.E, Bolhuis A, Spiller O. B & Beeton M. L. An essential requirement for flow to enable the development of Ureaplasma parvum biofilms in vitro. J Appl Microbiol 2021.
- Heath N.L, Rowlands R.S, Webster G, Mahenthiralingam E, & Beeton M. L. Antimicrobial activity of enacyloxin IIa and gladiolin against the urogenital pathogens Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Ureaplasma spp. J Appl Microbiol. 2020.
- Beeton M. L., Uldum S., Bebear C., Dumke R., Leven G., Lones K., Nir-Paz R., Peyere S., Spiller O.B. & Chalker V. J. and the ESCMID Study Group for Mycoplasma and Chlamydia Infections (ESGMAC) Mycoplasma pneumoniae sub-group. Mycoplasma pneumoniae infections, 11 countries in Europe and Israel, 2011 to 2016. Eurosurveillance. 2020 Jan;25(2)
- Beeton M. L., Payne M. S. & Jones L. The role of Ureaplasma spp. in the development of nongonococcal urethritis and infertility among men. Clin Microbiol Rev. 2019 3;32(4)
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 About the Project