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Global phylo-epidemiology Vibrio parahaemolyticus within a context of climate change

Project Description

Project Rationale:
Vibrio parahaemolyticus (Vp) is a marine bacterium and a natural inhabitant of coastal environments worldwide. Globally, this pathogen is the leading cause of bacterial seafood-borne infections. The geographical distribution of Vp-associated infections has undergone a global expansion over the last 2 decades in phase with climate warming. A key driving factor identified for this process of disease expansion has been the transition from infections caused by locally-restricted strains to the surge and transcontinental expansion of epidemic clonal types. These modern expansions provide an exceptional opportunity to study the evolutionary process of this pathogen first-hand and to understand the mechanisms shaping the epidemic dynamics of diseases associated with these emerging pathogens. This PhD project will determine the factors that drive the emergence, dispersal and successful introduction of these pathogens into new regions, facilitating the global spread of infections. Several fundamental unknowns exist on key features regarding the transmission, dissemination and establishment of these pathogenic environmental bacteria - such as how vibrios emerge in non-endemic areas and how climate change may influence these processes.

The primary objective of this PhD project will be to generate a global map of the geographical distribution of the different genetic variants of Vp and to relate these distributions to the physicochemical marine environments that have driven the evolution and spread of these genetic variants.

Funding Notes

You can apply for fully-funded studentships (stipend and fees) from INSPIRE if you:
Are a UK or EU national.
Have no restrictions on how long you can stay in the UK.
Have been 'ordinarily resident' in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the project.

Please click View Website for more information on eligibilty and how to apply


Baker-Austin C. et al 2018 Vibrio spp. infections. Nature Reviews Disease Primers 4: 8: JUL 12 2018
Martinez-Urtaza et al. 2017. Genomic Variation and Evolution of Vibrio parahaemolyticus ST36 over the Course of a Transcontinental Epidemic Expansion. MBIO 8: e01425-17
Baker-Austin, C et al. 2017. Non-Cholera Vibrios: The Microbial Barometer of Climate Change TRENDS IN MICROBIOLOGY 25: 76-84 DOI: 10.1016/j.tim.2016.09.008

How good is research at University of Southampton in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 68.62

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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