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EASTBIO Intracellular persistence as a mechanism of immune evasion by Streptococcus agalactiae

  • Full or part time

    Prof R Fitzgerald
  • Application Deadline
    Sunday, January 05, 2020
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Project Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies / The Roslin Institute

The zoonotic pathogen Streptococcus agalactiae (group B Streptococcus) is a leading cause of neonatal sepsis in humans and mastitis in dairy cattle. Despite causing significant morbidity, mortality and economic burden, the bacterial effectors of colonisation and persistence remain poorly characterised. We also do not know which factors enable the bacteria to infect different host species. A common mechanism by which bacteria persist within their host is to hijack host cells and hide out within them, evading the immune system and avoiding detection.

Although classified as an extracellular organism, S. agalactiae has been reported to survive within host epithelial cells, a phenomenon that provides protection against not only the immune system but also antibiotic treatments. During this studentship you will make use of a combination of microbiological and genomic approaches to identify novel bacterial factors that contribute to the survival and persistence of S. agalactiae within host cells. You will go on to learn various molecular techniques already established within the lab to ascertain the mechanism by which these bacterial effectors function. This will involve genetic manipulation of S. agalactiae to generate mutants deficient in genes of interest, and subsequent characterisation of these isogenic bacterial strains. This approach will employ a combination of molecular techniques including measurement of RNA and protein expression levels, and approaches to characterise the interaction with host cells. This will be achieved by a combination of experiments involving cell culture and a novel ex vivo tissue model of disease. The role of individual bacterial factors in mediating intracellular survival within different host species will also be assessed, providing a rationale to identify factors important in defining host specificity of this important pathogen.

You will be actively involved in experimental design and data analysis, and have the opportunity to present your data at national and international conferences.

For informal enquires and further information please contact Dr Nicola Lynskey ().

Eligibility:
All candidates should have or expect to have a minimum of an appropriate upper 2nd class degree. To qualify for full funding students must be UK or EU citizens who have been resident in the UK for 3 years prior to commencement.

Funding Notes

Applications:
Completed application form along with your supporting documents should be sent to our PGR student team at

References:
Please send the reference request form to two referees. Completed forms for University of Edinburgh, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies and the Roslin Institute project should be returned to by the closing date: 5th January 2020.

It is your responsibility to ensure that references are provided by the specified deadline.
Download application and reference forms via:
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