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Novel detection systems for tuberculosis

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  • Full or part time
    Prof Matthew Gibson
    Dr E Fullam
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

This PhD is joint between Dr E. Fullam in the School of Life Sciences, and Dr. M. Gibson in Chemistry/Medical School

Bovine tuberculosis is a disease of global importance. It is estimated that the worldwide losses to agriculture from this disease amount to $3 billion per annum (1). Bovine TB is one of the biggest challenges currently facing cattle farmers in the UK (2). The major causative agent of bovine tuberculosis (TB) is Mycobacterium bovis, a member of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex. Bovine TB is a disease of high economic relevance within livestock farming since it directly affects animal productivity and influences the export of meat and dairy products. The overall proportion of herds in the UK testing positive for M. bovis is increasing. Hence, bovine TB is a serious cause for concern for UK livestock farming both economically and also with regard to welfare. In addition M. bovis can be transmitted to humans, resulting in human TB, predominantly through eating meat or dairy products produced from unpasteurised milk from infected animals (3) Bovine TB, therefore, also represents a risk to public health.

Therefore there is an urgent need for alternative novel diagnostic tests which are able to detect bovine TB in cattle, with the potential to distinguish between vaccinated animals and infected cattle. This PhD project aims to address this highly topical issue.

In this exciting project the student will have the ability to develop this project and a diagnostic assay for bovine TB utilising a highly interdisciplinary approach using chemistry (and established gold nanoparticle detection technology in the Gibson group), biochemistry and microbiology techniques. This research has clear potential to impact on the agricultural industry with biotechnological applications.

You will work between the two departments. Full training in microbiology will be given, so prior experience is not essential.
The GibsonGroup is a large, interdisciplinary group, located in state-of-the-art laboratories (New Oct 2014) for synthetic, analytical and biological chemistry and has access to world-leading facilities at Warwick Chemistry (see webpages).
If interested, please contact Dr M. Gibson or Dr E. Fullam

Funding Notes

This is part of a doctoral training center; Midlands Integrative Biosciences Training Partnership. Year 1 is a focused Masters Year followed by 3 year PhD, providing a range of skills. Check webpages for eligibility requirements.


T. Garnier et al., The complete genome sequence of Mycobacterium bovis. PNAS 100, 7877 (Jun 24, 2003). 3. P. D. Davies, Tuberculosis in humans and animals: are we a threat to each other? J. R. Soc. Med. 99, 539 (Oct, 2006).

Makarov V, Manina G, Mikusova K et. al. (2009) 'Benzothiazinones kill Mycobacterium tuberculosis by blocking arabinan synthesis', Science, 324 (5928), 801 - 804 (0036-8075)

Sarah-Jane Richards, Elizabeth Fullam, Gurdyal S. Besra and Matthew I. Gibson (2014) 'Discrimination between bacterial phenotypes using glyco-nanoparticles and the impact of polymer coating on detection readouts' Journal Of Materials Chemistry 2 (11), 1441 - 1442

Lowery, R., Gibson, M. I., Thompson, R., and Fullam, E.. (2015) 'Deuterated Carbohydrate Probes as Label-Free Substrates for Probing Nutrient Uptake in Mycobacteria by Nuclear Reaction Analysis' Chemical Communications 51 (23), 4838 - 4841

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