Coventry University Featured PhD Programmes
University of Reading Featured PhD Programmes

The effect of air pollution on respiratory pathogens infectious disease.

Department of Genetics and Genome Biology

This project is no longer listed on and may not be available.

Click here to search for PhD studentship opportunities
Dr J Morrissey , Prof J Ketley , Prof P W Andrew , Prof P Monks Applications accepted all year round Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

This project is at the cutting edge of investigations of the increase in infection resulting from airborne pollution.

Air pollution is the world’s largest single environmental health risk, being responsible for an eighth of all global deaths per year (World Health Organisation, 2017). High levels of atmospheric particulate matter (PM) cause increased respiratory and infectious diseases, including pneumonia. How PM effects bacterial behaviour, however, is not well understood which is worrying considering the role of bacteria in infectious and respiratory diseases.

Our studies, which received worldwide media attention, showed that exposure to PM alters the respiratory tract bacteria colonisation (Hussey et al., 2017). Our publication showed that PM induces changes in Streptococcus pneumoniae and Staphylococcus aureus biofilm formation and importantly altered the tolerance of biofilms to antibiotics (Hussey et al., 2017), and in vivo colonisation of the respiratory tract.

Our recent data have shown that PM alters the biofilms and adherence to human epithelial cells of several other respiratory pathogens and alters bacterial regulatory responses. Additionally we have shown that exposure to different particle pollutants, such as brake dust, also alters bacterial biofilm formation. However we do not know how PM causes these responses.

Therefore the aim of this project is to further explore that PM affects pathogen colonisation and virulence increasing our understanding of how air pollution causes increased infectious disease.

self funded students

Entry requirements:
Applicants are required to hold/or expect to obtain a UK Bachelor Degree 2:1 or better in a relevant subject.
The University of Leicester English language requirements apply where applicable:

How to apply:
To apply for the PhD please refer to the guidelines

Funding Notes

self-funded only


Hussey et al., 2018. Air pollution alters Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pneumoniae biofilms, antibiotic tolerance, and colonisation. (2017) Environmental Microbiology 19:1868-1880.
Search Suggestions

Search Suggestions

Based on your current searches we recommend the following search filters.

FindAPhD. Copyright 2005-2021
All rights reserved.