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Understanding how pathogenic streptococci sense and respond to metal intoxication (SULLIVAN_U23MMB)

   School of Biological Sciences

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  Dr Matthew Sullivan  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Background: The streptococci encompass a plethora of bacteria that inhabit the human body and usually live co-operatively with us as commensals. Some streptococci, however, switch from being good bacteria to being bad bacteria, transforming into opportunistic pathogens that cause harm. They do this by securing an advantage, such as by evading immune surveillance or by resisting the ways in which our bodies normally destroy pathogens, including by exploiting antimicrobial metal ions. Intriguingly, little is known about how certain bacteria detected metals at the molecular level or how streptococci can respond to a changing environment within the body. To address these important questions, this PhD will study Group B streptococcus, an opportunistic pathogen of the young and old, to develop an understanding of how bacteria resist metal intoxication imposed by the host. The specific focus of the project can be tailored to your specific interests within the disciplines of microbiology, biomedicine and biochemistry.

Research Methodology and Training: You will join well-resourced and collegiate labs with expertise in the genetic regulation of metal biology in bacteria. Expert multidisciplinary training in a wide array of advanced bacteriological, molecular biology and biochemical techniques will be provided to develop an understanding of how pathogenic bacteria respond to metal intoxication.

Supervision: You will be involved in all aspects of the study’s design and management. You will discuss your progress and findings in weekly team and supervisory meetings and will receive regular quality feedback and nurturing of your training needs. You will be supported to attend and present work at high-profile (inter)national scientific conferences and will receive coaching for scientific writing of scientific publications and your PhD thesis. You will develop strong translational skills for enhanced employability outcomes.

Person Specification: A highly motivated applicant with interests in microbiology and a degree in the biological/biomedical/biochemical sciences.

The Microbes, Microbiomes and Bioinformatics (MMB) Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) is open to UK and international candidates with relevant undergraduate degrees for entry in October 2023 and offers the opportunity to undertake a 4-year PhD research project funded by the UKRI Medical Research Council in microbiology and microbial bioinformatics.

Our unique and comprehensive training programme empowers students to feel comfortable running sophisticated computer analyses alongside laboratory work and emphasises problem-based learning in microbial bioinformatics, professional development and research skills. All students will undertake a Professional Placement.

Interviews for shortlisted candidates will take place on Wednesday 15 February or Tuesday 16 February 2023.

The MRC DTP is committed to equality, diversity and inclusion. Students are selected without regard to age, disability, gender identity, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, ethnicity, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation or social background. We value curiosity, independence of thought, plus an aptitude for research that combines laboratory work and bioinformatics.

For information on eligibility and how to apply:

Funding Notes

This project is awarded with a 4-year studentship including:
• Maintenance stipend according to the MRC stipend scale
• University tuition fee payment
• Research and training costs
Studentship funding does not normally cover costs associated with visa or health surcharges or additional costs associated with entry to, and living in, the UK.
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