The increasing prevalence of anti-microbial resistance (AMR) is one of the key health challenges of the 21st centuryThe emergence of AMR is inherently an evolutionary problem. Development of new anti-microbials is clearly of key importance. Resistance has evolved for every therapeutic discovered so far, and there is every reason to believe that this will be the case for any new ones. Yet the evolutionary nature of AMR has largely been neglected by policy makers and researchers alike. A key feature of AMR acquisition is coevolution, i.e., evolutionary interactions between different parts of the genome. Better understanding of this factors in relation to AMR offers the possibility of developing novel approaches that have the potential to produce not only better or more ‘evolution-proof’ antibiotics but also allow us to harness evolutionary processes themselves to allow antibiotic sensitive microbes to outcompete resistant ones.
We will use our knowledge of protein structure and sequence data from clinical isolates to identify constraints on the evolution of AMR. We will use phylogenetic methods to reconstruct evolutionary pathways, and determine how these are constrained by protein structure and function. We will use novel methods to identify coevolution within bacteria as they gain resistance. The ultimate aim is to identify signals that resistance is about to emerge, and therapies that can prevent it.
Training/techniques to be provided:
Training will be provided in protein structure analysis, programming and evolutionary biology.
Candidates are expected to hold (or be about to obtain) a minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) in biology, biochemistry or a related subject.
For international students we also offer a unique 4 year PhD programme that gives you the opportunity to undertake an accredited Teaching Certificate whilst carrying out an independent research project across a range of biological, medical and health sciences. For more information please visit http://www.internationalphd.manchester.ac.uk