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Investigation of changes in gut virome composition associated with of administration of antibiotics


School of Pharmacy

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Dr T Skvortsov , Prof B Gilmore No more applications being accepted Awaiting Funding Decision/Possible External Funding

About the Project

Gut microbiome is a complex community of microorganisms, comprising bacteria, fungi, protists and viruses. The gut ecosystem has significant influence on the physiology of the host and its reorganisation in response to different stress factors, including antibiotics, has an immediate and pronounced impact on metabolic and regulatory processes of the host organism.

While the effects of antibiotic administration on gut bacteria have been extensively investigated, much less is known about the perturbations to the viral component (virome) of the gut microbiome. As a significant proportion of gut viruses are bacteriophages, which are known to incorporate functionally beneficial genes under stress-related conditions, including determinants of antibiotic resistance, a thorough investigation of the gut virome dynamics following the administration of antibiotics would help to better understand phage-bacteria interactions in the gut and the role of phages in the emergence of drug-resistant phenotypes of bacteria.

To this end, in this project faecal samples collected before and after adiminstration of antibiotics will be processed to isolate a fraction or virus-like particles. Viral DNA will be extracted and subjected to high-throughput sequencing and a comparative analsysis of changes in taxonomic and functional composition of viromes will be conducted. Special emphasis will be placed on determination of changes in relative abundance of antimicrobial resistance genes between samples.

Funding Notes

Applicants should have a 1st or 2.1 honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject. Relevant subjects include Microbiology, Virology, Pharmacy, Molecular Biology, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Biochemistry, Biological/Biomedical Sciences, Chemistry, Engineering, or a closely related discipline. Students who have a 2.2 honours degree and a Master’s degree may also be considered.

Important, applicants must fulfil the eligibility criteria set out by the Department for the Economy which can be found at this link: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/department-economy-studentships

References

http://www.qub.ac.uk/schools/SchoolofPharmacy/Research/PostgraduatePositions/

http://www.qub.ac.uk/schools/SchoolofPharmacy/Research/


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