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Detection of cell wall stripped Mycobacterium tuberculosis in infected patients and animals

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  • Full or part time
    Dr G Mukamolova
    Dr P Haldar
    Prof A Cooper
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Tuberculosis (TB) remains a significant global challenge which claims over 1 million lives annually. Moreover, one quarter of the entire global population has latent Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection (Mtb LTBI) that has the potential to reactivate and is the primary driver of the global epidemic.

The importance of latent TB has been long recognised, however attempts to grow Mtb from latently infected patients have failed. Moreover, there is heterogeneity of reactivation risk within the LTBI population that is poorly understood and cannot be reliably characterised using existing tools. We hypothesise that during LTBI, Mtb lose their cell wall in response to the actions of the immune system or chemotherapeutic agents and that this results in production of so-called L-forms. These forms can survive in blood cells and can contribute to reactivation of latent TB under favourable conditions. L-forms pose a “hidden” reservoir of Mtb infection and reproducible cultivation of these L-forms is not yet optimized.

The aim of this project is to develop microbiological and molecular techniques for detection of Mtb L-forms in infected animals and patients. Experimental approaches will include generation of Mtb L forms in vitro, optimisation of conditions for their cultivation and development of quantitative PCR based methods for detection Mtb L-forms from infected tissues. These techniques will be used to detect L-forms in infected animals and blood samples from TB patients. We will correlate the existence of L-forms with current and novel biomarkers that identify higher risk states for progression to active TB from latent infection.

Entry requirements:
You must hold (or be about to obtain) a First or an Upper Second Class UK undergraduate degree or an equivalent degree from a recognised EU institution, in an area relevant to the projects you are applying for.

Qualifications (or a combination of qualifications and experience) which demonstrate equivalent ability and attainment will also be considered.

For example, a less than sufficient first degree may be enhanced to meet the requirements by the acquisition of a Distinction at Masters level or significant research experience gained from employment).

Informal enquiries:
If you have any questions or would like to find out more about IMPACT, please get in touch.
Email us at [Email Address Removed]

UK/EU applicants only

To apply:
Please refer to https://more.bham.ac.uk/mrc-impact/phd-opportunities/

Funding Notes

The Studentship provides 3.5 years of Stipend at UKRI rates and Tuition fees at UK/EU rates.

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