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  How does capsular polysaccharide degradation by Group A Streptococcus contribute to it’s survival?

   Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences

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  Dr E Lowe  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Group A Streptococcus pyogenes (GAS) is a human pathogen, which can be the causative agent of minor illnesses such as tonsillitis, as well as more serious invasive infections. It has an outer capsule composed of a carbohydrate called hyaluronic acid, which is also a common component of human cells. This capsule is critical to colonisation and infection. One of the challenges pathogens face during infection is lack of important nutrients like glucose. When nutrients are limited, GAS may break down its own capsule to survive. This BBSRC DTP project aims to establish how this capsule breakdown occurs, to characterise the key enzymes responsible, and to investigate how this capsule recycling contributes to GAS resilience to nutrient stress. Based in Dr Elisabeth Lowe’s lab at Newcastle University Medical School, with time in Dr Karrera Djoko’s lab in the University of Durham, the student will gain broad expertise in bacteria cell biology, biochemistry, glycobiology and have access to state of the art equipment in both laboratories.

For further information see the website:

To apply:
Please complete the online application form and attach a full CV and covering letter - Informal enquiries may be made to [Email Address Removed]

Funding Notes

This is a 4 year BBSRC studentship under the Newcastle-Liverpool-Durham DTP. The successful applicant will receive research costs, tuition fees and stipend (£14,553 for 2017-18). The PhD will start in October 2018. Applicants should have, or be expecting to receive, a 2.1 Hons degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject. EU candidates must have been resident in the UK for 3 years in order to receive full support. There are 2 stages to the application process.


How members of the human gut microbiota overcome the sulfation problem posed by host glycosaminoglycans. Alan Cartmell*, Elisabeth. C. Lowe*, Arnaud Baslé, Susan J. Firbank, Didier A. Ndeh, Heath Murray, Nicolas Terrapon, Vincent Lombard, Bernard Henrissat, Jeremy E. Turnbull, Mirjam Czjzek, Harry J. Gilbert, David N. Bolam. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2017 114(27):7037-7042. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1704367114.