Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) is a zoonotic pathogen of public health concern due to its potential to cause severe gastrointestinal symptoms in humans, including bloody diarrhoea and haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS); STEC is the leading cause of renal failure in children. During the first part of this project the student will analyse the PHE whole genome sequencing data collection to elucidate the population structure of STEC in the UK and compare this with global datasets informed by travel information for UK cases and review trends in emerging virulence and antimicrobial resistance. In the second part of project, the student will apply this framework for identification and characterisation of STEC directly from faecal specimens using methods developed and refined in the Pathogens & Microbiomes theme. In the third part of the project, the student will explore the faecal microbiome of STEC patients at diagnosis and on follow up with the aim of predicting clinical outcome and carriage. The overall aim of the project is to develop protocols for the surveillance and patient management of STEC in the culture-free era.
We invite applications from candidates who have a 2.1 or 1st class degree in a relevant biological science or quantitative science discipline. A Masters degree in a relevant discipline would be an advantage. Applicants should send a full CV (including the names and email addresses of at least two academic referees), and personal statement to [email protected]. This should state: • An outline of how this programme of research and training will benefit from their past experience and impact upon their career aspirations.
The position may be based at either, The University of Liverpool, The University of Warwick or PHE (Colindale/ Porton Down), depending on the project. For some projects, students will be required to work at one of the partner Universities’ and spend time at PHE.
Thesis studentships cover research costs and tuition fees at the UK/EU rate for students who meet the residency requirements only.