Mechanisms of Streptococcus biofilm and community development
Streptococcus bacteria are opportunistic pathogens and ubiquitous colonisers of the human oral cavity and mucosae. They are often prominent members of the resident microbiota at these sites, reflecting their evolutionary adaptation to successful colonisation of their ecological niche. Despite facing often hostile environmental conditions, Streptococcus bacteria are able to associate with host tissues and with other microorganisms to form microbial communities (biofilms), the precise nature of which can have significant implications for both health and disease. Nonetheless, the underpinning mechanisms utilised by streptococci for biofilm and community development are not fully understood.
This project forms part of an exciting programme of research within the Oral Microbiology group to decipher the molecular basis of Streptococcus colonisation and pathogenesis. The objectives of this project are to utilise genetic-, biochemical- and cell culture-based techniques to determine the molecular mechanisms of streptococcal biofilm formation, and of interplay with other microbes and host tissues. Identification of the molecular determinants that influence Streptococcus colonisation and pathogenesis could lead to the development of novel strategies to combat streptococcal disease. This project will therefore provide an excellent opportunity to develop a wide range of interdisciplinary skills within a vibrant research team addressing significant biomedical problems.