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(BBSRC DTP) Listeria monocytogenes in transit in the small intestine-interactions with the host mucosal surface and the host microbiota.

Project Description

Listeria monocytogenes is an opportunistic food borne pathogen responsible for a number of life threatening infections with a highest morality rate of any food borne bacterial pathogen. It is a facultative intracellular pathogen capable of invading into, and replicating in, a range of host cells. The intracellular life cycle of L. monocytogenes has been studied in immense detail and has provided many insights into the functioning of eukaryotic cells.

In contrast, much less is known about the adaptation to other stimuli encountered during transit in the intestine prior to attachment and invasion. Such stimuli will include molecules produced through the metabolism of resident micro-organisms and exposure to host molecules such as mucins on mucosal surfaces. These signals will need to be integrated in adapting to the new environment prior to attachment and invasion and the onset of infection. The aim of this PhD studentship is to use interdisciplinary approaches to elucidate the adaptation of L. monocytogenes to this critical phase of its life cycle prior to invasion.

The techniques used would include molecular microbiology such as RNAseq to analyse bacterial gene expression in response to stimuli encountered in the intestine like short chain fatty acids and mucus, to use biochemical techniques to study mucus degradation/modification by L. monocytogenes and to use live cell imaging in organoids derived from wild type and transgenic animals. By the end of the project we anticipate generating mathematical models that we can use to predict the behaviour of L. monocytogenes in the gut prior to invasion.

Entry Requirements:
Applications are invited from UK/EU nationals only. Applicants must have obtained, or be about to obtain, at least an upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject.

Funding Notes

This project is to be funded under the BBSRC Doctoral Training Programme. If you are interested in this project, please make direct contact with the Principal Supervisor to arrange to discuss the project further as soon as possible. You MUST also submit an online application form - full details on how to apply can be found on the BBSRC DTP website View Website

As an equal opportunities institution we welcome applicants from all sections of the community regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation and transgender status. All appointments are made on merit.

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