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Relationship between antibiotic therapy and development of antimicrobial resistance in patients with bronchiectasis and COPD


   School of Pharmacy

  Prof Michael Tunney, Prof JS Elborn,  Applications accepted all year round  Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

To decrease the risk of acute infective exacerbations or flare-ups of their condition, individuals with bronchiectasis and COPD are frequently prescribed long-term oral and inhaled antibiotics. However, it is not clear what effect such antibiotic treatment has on microbial community composition and the development of antibiotic resistance and how this relates to patient outcomes.

As part of an ongoing collaboration between Queens University Belfast and the University of Dundee, we have access to a large number of clinical samples and extensive clinical and biomarker data from patients enrolled in clinical studies and the European Bronchiectasis Registry (EMBARC). In this project, we will determine whether microbiota composition and presence of resistance genes in these samples correlates with previous antibiotic treatment. Metagenomic analysis will be performed to determine the abundance of genes encoding antimicrobial resistance, the 'resistome', within the community of bacteria as a whole, and how it changes in response to treatment. The relationship between development of resistance and an extensive range of clinical outcomes (lung function, quality of life, time to next exacerbation) and measures of inflammation will also be determined.

This project will provide extensive training in, clinical pharmacy, clinical trial methodology, molecular microbiology, inflammatory biomarker measurement and statistical analysis as part of an inter-disciplinary and internationally renowned research team. This study will use rich clinical metadata and molecular resistance markers to explore prognostic markers that have potential to drive improvements in clinical care of people with bronchiectasis and COPD.

Home applicants must meet the following academic criteria:

1st or 2.1 honours degree in a relevant subject. Relevant subjects include Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Biochemistry, Biological/Biomedical Sciences, Chemistry, Engineering, or a closely related discipline.

International applicants must meet the following academic criteria:

IELTS (or equivalent) of 7.0, a 2.1 honours degree (or equivalent) and a master’s degree in a relevant subject.

Applicants should apply through the University's Direct Application Portal: https://dap.qub.ac.uk/portal/user/u_login.php


Funding Notes

Department for the Economy studentships are open for applications to Home and International applicants for October 2023 entry. Eligibility and funding information is available here: View Website

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