Investigating the role of food as a vehicle for microbial transmission and antimicrobial resistance genes.

   School of Health and Life Sciences

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  Dr John Butcher, Dr Ryan Kean, Dr C Crossan  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Reference: SHLS20067

The emergence of infectious diseases impacts a significant socio-economic burden on global economies and public health. This problem has rarely been so pertinent as the world struggles with the containment of a viral pandemic in 2020 in the absence of effective therapeutics. The concern does not stop with viral pathogens, recently treatment recalcitrant novel fungal pathogens such as Candida auris have emerged, and the rapid increase in antimicrobial resistant bacteria has been well documented. Food microbiology is a well-established discipline with regards to classic food-borne pathogens such as Salmonella enterica species, pathogenic Escherichia coli, and norovirus. However, current understanding of food as a vehicle for transmission of fungal pathogens and respiratory viruses is lacking, as is the role of food in the transmission of non-pathogenic antimicrobial resistant bacteria which could act as a reservoir of antimicrobial resistance genes for clinically important bacteria. Moreover, the effect of processing on the pathogen uptake of antimicrobial resistance genes released within food matrices has not been assessed.   

This PhD studentship will aim to characterise the microbiome of processed and unprocessed foods at production and retail with respect to respiratory viruses, bacteria, and fungi. The project will involve a blend of novel and traditional microbiological techniques to identify key microbes, antimicrobial resistance and virulence profiles, the presence of free antimicrobial resistance genes in food and subsequently the acquisition of antimicrobial resistance genes within food matrices. The findings of this project will inform public health strategies for infection prevention and control.  

Glasgow Caledonian University’s research is framed around the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This project addresses the goal of Healthy Lives and is part of the research activity of the Research Group – Safeguarding Health through Infection Prevention:

The successful applicant will hold a first or upper second class honours degree within biological sciences, or a masters degree within biological sciences, with previous laboratory research experience desirable. Candidates are requested to submit a detailed research proposal (maximum of 2000 words) on the project area as part of their application.

This project is available as a 3 years full-time PhD study programme with expected start date of 1 February, 1 May or 1 October.

Applicants should apply for their preferred intake date using the Biological Sciences links via the Application Process page 

Biological Sciences (4) Medicine (26)


For further information please contact:
Dr John Butcher Email:
GCU Research Online:
Dr Ryan Kean Email:
GCU Research Online:
Dr Claire Crossan Email:
GCU Research Online:

 About the Project