Metals and host-pathogen interactions: the role of metal handling systems in the human gastrointestinal pathogen Campylobacter jejuni

   Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health

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  Dr Jennifer Cavet, Dr D Linton  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Campylobacter jejuni is a globally important food-borne pathogen causing an estimated 400-500 million cases of acute human gastroenteritis each year. This bacterium is able to colonize and persist in farm animals, particularly chickens, which are the major source of human campylobacteriosis. Metals (such as zinc and copper) play a central role in the outcome of bacteria-host interactions. To control infections, in a process termed nutritional immunity, the immune system exploits both the need for bacteria to acquire metals in order to proliferate and the innate toxicity of metals. In response pathogenic bacteria have evolved a myriad of metal-sensing, metal-acquisition and metal-detoxification systems which represent key virulence determinants. These systems offer attractive targets for the development of much needed novel antimicrobial agents as well as opportunities to exploit nutritional immunity. This project combines the expertise of two laboratories (Cavet – Metals in bacterial pathogens, Linton – Campylobacter biology) and focuses on uncovering and characterising the metal handling systems in C. jejuni, and examining their roles in allowing this pathogen to adapt to metal stresses within its human and animal hosts.  

Candidates are expected to hold (or be about to obtain) a minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) in a related area / subject.  Candidates with experience in general molecular biology and bacteriology techniques are encouraged to apply. 

For information on how to apply for this project, please visit the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health Doctoral Academy website ( Informal enquiries may be made directly to the primary supervisor. On the online application form select PhD Immunology.

For international students we also offer a unique 4 year PhD programme that gives you the opportunity to undertake an accredited Teaching Certificate whilst carrying out an independent research project across a range of biological, medical and health sciences. For more information please visit

Biological Sciences (4)

Funding Notes

Applications are invited from self-funded students. This project has a Band 2 fee. Details of our different fee bands can be found on our website ( For information on how to apply for this project, please visit the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health Doctoral Academy website (
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Barnawi, H., Masri, N., Hussain, N., Al-lawati, B., Mayasari, E., Gulbicka, A., Jervis, A. J., Huang, M., Cavet, J. S. & Linton, D., 2020, RNA-based thermoregulation of a Campylobacter jejuni zinc resistance determinant. In: PLoS Pathogens 16, e1009008.