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Pyocins as alternatives to antibiotics against Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Pyocins are bacteriocins produced by Pseudomonas aeruginosa to kill closely related strains of the same species during times of environmental stress. There are three types of pyocin: (i) type R and (ii) F pyocins resemble phage particles in structure and kill bacteria by depolarisation of the cytoplasmic membrane, (iii) S type pyocins proteins that kill sensitive bacteria by degrading their DNA. Recently, we have used PCR to determine the distribution of pyocin types within laboratory strains and clinical isolates of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Using biological activity assays and DNA mutagenesis we have defined the sensitivity and resistance profiles of all isolates against other isolates and have shown that inhibition of growth of one isolate by another isolate is related to pyocin type. In this project, we will determine the role of pyocins in shaping interactions of different isolates of Pseudomonas aeruginosa in liquid culture and biofilms. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is very capable of forming biofilms as a means of cell to cell communication and protection of individual cells against environmental hazards. Pseudomonas aeruginosa exists in the lungs of sufferers of cystic fibrosis as organised biofilm structures which hinder antibiotic therapies. We will test the impact of pyocins on the stability of individual cells within the biofilm structure and assess the opportunities for pyocin therapy against Pseudomonas aeruginosa in biofilm.

The University of Nottingham is one of the world’s most respected research-intensive universities, ranked 8th in the UK for research power (REF 2014). Students studying in the School of Life Sciences will have the opportunity to thrive in a vibrant, multidisciplinary environment, with expert supervision from leaders in their field, state-of-the-art facilities and strong links with industry. Students are closely monitored in terms of their personal and professional progression throughout their study period and are assigned academic mentors in addition to their supervisory team. The School provides structured training as a fundamental part of postgraduate personal development and our training programme enables students to develop skills across the four domains of the Vitae Researcher Development Framework (RDF). During their studies, students will also have the opportunity to attend and present at conferences around the world. The School puts strong emphasis on the promotion of postgraduate research with a 2-day annual PhD research symposium attended by all students, plus academic staff and invited speakers.

Funding Notes

Home applicants should contact the supervisor to determine the current funding status for this project. EU applicants should visit the Graduate School webpages for information on specific EU scholarships View Website. International applicants should visit our International Research Scholarships page for information regarding fees and funding at the University View Website.

Related Subjects

How good is research at University of Nottingham in Biological Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 90.86

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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