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Characterising temperate bacteriophages in complex microbial communities and their role in antimicrobial resistance (Ref:SF18/APP/Smith)

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Temperate bacteriophages have the ability to integrate into the chromosome of their target bacterium that leads to a change in the physiology of their bacterial host. The Smith group focuses on these lysogenic or temperate phages and how they drive adaptation and evolution of the bacterial cell that would promote a phenotype that impacts human or animal health. These phages carry a high number of genes with predicted unknown function, yet these genes are usually carried widely between phages of this type and therefore we presume offer a selective advantage to the phage or their bacterial host. These genes are therefore important to identify and characterise as they may be defining in bacterial colonisation by commensals or associated to human disease.
Our current work focuses on temperate bacteriophages associated to disease of the human gut e.g. shigatoxin encoding phages and those found in chronic respiratory disease including cystic fibrosis and bronchiectasis. This project would look to continue recent work using multi-omic approaches to determine how bacteriophages encode a selective advantage against antimicrobials. These studies would look further to determine how phages modulate microbial cell function that alters microbial communities.
Our research is heavily linked to genomic, transcriptomic and metabolomics approaches to map these phage encoded changes. Students will become well versed in handling bacteriophages and analysing multi-omic datasets. Molecular biology including gene knockout and complementation will be used to classify and qualify the genes of interest.

Eligibility and How to Apply:
Please note eligibility requirement:
• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see
https://www.northumbria.ac.uk/research/postgraduate-research-degrees/how-to-apply/

Please note: Applications should include a covering letter that includes a short summary (500 words max.) of a relevant piece of research that you have previously completed. Applications that do not include the advert reference (e.g. SF18/…) will not be considered.

Deadline for applications: 1st July 2019 for October 2019 start, or 1st December 2018 for March 2019 start
Start Date: March or October 2019

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality and is a member of the Euraxess network, which delivers information and support to professional researchers

Funding Notes

This studentship is only open to self-funding candidates. Self-funding candidates are expected to pay University fees and to provide their own living costs. University fee bands are shown at
View Website
Projects in Applied Sciences are typically costed at Band 3 or Band 4.

References

• Holt, G. S, Lodge, J, McCarthy, A. J, Graham, A.K, Young, G, Bridge, S. H, Brown, A. K, Veses-Garcia, M, Lanyon, C.V, Sails, A, Allison, H. E. and Smith, D. L. (2017).Shigatoxin encoding Bacteriophage φ24 B modulates bacterial metabolism to raise antimicrobial tolerance (2017) Nature Scientific Reports, SREP-16-17777A
• Mohammad Adnan Tariq, Francesca Louise Claire Everest, Lauren Cowley, Anthony DeSoyza, Giles Samuel Holt, Simon Harwood Bridge, Audrey Perry, John D Perry, Stephen Bourke, Stephen Cummings, Clare Veronica Lanyon, Jeremy J Barr and Darren Lee Smith. A Metagenomic approach to characterize temperate bacteriophage populations from cystic fibrosis and non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis patients. (2015). Frontiers in Microbiology (IF=4.0)

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