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Role of metals in the biology of the human gastrointestinal pathogen Campylobacter jejuni

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  • Full or part time
    Dr D Linton
    Dr J Cavet
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Campylobacter jejuni is an important foodborne pathogen and common cause of human gastroenteritis. This bacterium is able to colonize and persist in farm animals, particularly chickens, and then subsequently infect humans. In the gastrointestinal tract there are many challenges to bacteria and one of these is acquisition of metals that play essential structural and catalytic roles in proteins and enzymes. Bacteria have evolved a variety of metal transport and utilisation mechanisms and these are of fundamental interest and are potential targets for novel therapies. In C. jejuni there are a number of well characterised proteins involved in iron acquisition but other metals such as molybdate, tungstate, copper and zinc also play important roles in the biology of this organism. The processes involved in acquiring and handling these metals are less well understood. This project will combine the expertise of two laboratories (Linton – Campylobacter biology, Cavet – Metals in bacterial pathogens) to identify and characterise novel systems for acquisition and handling of metals by C. jejuni. Approaches used will combine molecular genetics to identify genes involved in metal utilisation and protein biochemistry to characterise the activities of corresponding gene products. This project will provide a thorough training in modern molecular microbiological techniques applied to a clinically important bacterial pathogen.

Funding Notes

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. Informal enquiries may be made directly to the primary supervisor.


Stahl et al., (2012) Nutrient acquisition and metabolism by Campylobacter jejuni. Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology 2(5).

Osman and Cavet (2011) Metal sensing in Salmonella: implications for pathogenesis. Advances in Microbial Physiology 58:175-232.

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