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Genomic epidemiology of bovine mastitis pathogens

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  • Full or part time
    Dr G Paterson
    Prof R Fitzgerald
    Dr A Macrae
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Mastitis, inflammation of the mammary gland, is one of the most common and economically important diseases in dairy cattle. Bovine mastitis causes reductions in milk yield and quality and in severe cases the affected animal is culled. As a result the annual cost of bovine mastitis to the UK dairy industry is estimated to be c. £200m, with the worldwide cost projected to be $200bn. A variety of bacterial pathogens are responsible for bovine mastitis with Escherichia coli, Streptococcus uberis, Staphylococcus aureus and other staphylococci typically being the most prevalent (Bradley et al. 2007).
This project will use whole-genome sequencing to investigate the biology of significant bovine mastitis pathogens. A variety of questions will be addressed that will provide valuable new insights into the epidemiology, antimicrobial resistance and transmission of these pathogens from the level of individual animals to within herds and through to the relationships between isolates globally. Together these data have the potential to underpin the development of improved interventions to tackle bovine mastitis. For recent publications on bacterial genomics work by project supervisors see MacFadyen et al. 2018 and Richardson et al. 2018.
The project offers training and experience in basic laboratory microbiology, ie. the isolation, identification and antimicrobial sensitivity testing of bovine mastitis pathogens. A major component will be the bioinformatics analysis of sequenced bacterial genomes, likely to involve species identification, phylogenetic analysis, comparative genomics, genome-wide association studies, the identification of antimicrobial resistance genes, virulence determinates and mobile genetic elements.
There is a vibrant postgraduate community on the campus providing a variety of scholarly and social opportunities and the university offers a wide range of training in transferrable skills relevant to postgraduate study and future careers.

Other projects available:
We would encourage applicants to list up to three projects of interest (ranked 1st, 2nd and 3rd choice) from those listed with a closing date of 10th January 2020 at https://www.ed.ac.uk/roslin/work-study/opportunities/studentships

Funding Notes

3.5 year PhD
Applications including a statement of interest and full CV with names and addresses (including email addresses) of two academic referees, should be emailed to [Email Address Removed].
When applying for the studentship please state clearly the project title/s and the supervisor/s in your covering letter.

All applicants should also apply through the University's on-line application system for September 2020 entry via
http://www.ed.ac.uk/studying/postgraduate/degrees/index.php?r=site/view&id=826

References

Bradley AJ et al. 2007. Survey of the incidence and aetiology of mastitis on dairy farms in England and Wales. Vet Rec. Feb 24;160(8):253-7.
MacFadyen AC et al. 2018. Genome analysis of methicillin resistance in Macrococcus caseolyticus from dairy cattle in England and Wales. Microb Genom. Aug;4(8).
Richardson EJ et al. 2018. Gene exchange drives the ecological success of a multi-host bacterial pathogen. Nat Ecol Evol. Sep;2(9):1468-1478.

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