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Understanding Multiple Antibiotic Resistance in Gram-negative Bacteria

   School of Biosciences

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  Prof David Grainger, Dr J Blair  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Antibiotics have transformed medical practice, increased life expectancy and, together with vaccination, led to the near eradication of many bacterial diseases. However, overuse, including in animals, has potentiated the emergence of resistant bacteria. Such bacteria now cause millions of infections annually, with thousands of lives lost at a societal cost of billions of dollars. Moreover, the occurrence of untreatable infections is increasingly common. This disturbing trend is an immediate threat to health in every region of the world; antibiotic-resistant bacteria have the potential to affect anyone, of any age, in any country. The multiple antibiotic resistance (mar) regulon, and homologous systems, are continually implicated. Briefly, the mar operon encodes a global gene regulatory system that controls expression of genetic determinants which confer antibiotic resistance. We hypothesise that the majority of targets for MarA, and the underlying molecular mechanisms of antibiotic resistance, are undefined. This project will combine genomic tools with focused molecular biology to identify new mechanisms of antibiotic resistance and new drug targets.

For more information about Professor Grainger’s lab and research please visit: http://graingerlab.com/

You are also advised to contact Professor Grainger directly to discuss your application prior to submission.


To find out more about studying for a PhD at the University of Birmingham, including full details of the research undertaken in each school, the funding opportunities for each subject, and guidance on making your application, you can now order your copy of the new Doctoral Research Prospectus, at: www.birmingham.ac.uk/students/drp.aspx

The School of Biosciences offers a number of UK Research Council (e.g. BBSRC, NERC) PhD studentships each year. Fully funded research council studentships are normally only available to UK nationals (or EU nationals resident in the UK) but part-funded studentships may be available to EU applicants resident outside of the UK. The deadline for applications will be January 10th 2021.

Each year we also have a number of fully funded Darwin Trust Scholarships. These are provided by the Darwin Trust of Edinburgh and are for non-UK students wishing to undertake a PhD in the general area of Molecular Microbiology. The deadline for this scheme is also typically at the end of January each year.

Funding Notes

Funded by the MIBTP-BBSRC training programme (https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/research/activity/mibtp/index.aspx & https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/cross_fac/mibtp/pgstudy/phd_opportunities/) or Darwin Trust scholarship (http://graingerlab.com/opportunities/). Both open to applications worldwide. Differences between home and international fees will not be covered by the MIBTP scheme. State your preferred scheme upon application. For MIBTP-BBSRC, you will need to fill in a University of Birmingham application AND the short notification form on the University of Warwick MIBTP portal. The notification form can be submitted here https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/cross_fac/mibtp/pgstudy/application/submission/

Further details on the BBSRC MIBTP scheme here: https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/research/activity/mibtp/index.aspx
Deadline: Jan 20th 2023
Studentships available: 30
Stipend: RCUK standard rate (+travel and laptop).
To check eligibility visit: https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/cross_fac/mibtp/pgstudy/application/#Eligibility


1. Blair JM, Webber MA, Baylay AJ, Ogbolu DO, Piddock LJ. (2015) Molecular mechanisms of antibiotic resistance. Nat Rev Microbiol. 13:42-51.
2. Sharma P, Haycocks JRJ, Middlemiss AD, Kettles RA, Sellars LE, Ricci V, Piddock LJV, Grainger DC. (2017) The multiple antibiotic resistance operon of enteric bacteria controls DNA repair and outer membrane integrity. Nat Commun. 8:1444.
3. Kettles RA, Tschowri N, Lyons KJ, Sharma P, Hengge R, Webber MA, Grainger DC. (2019) The Escherichia coli MarA protein regulates the ycgZ-ymgABC operon to inhibit biofilm formation. Mol Microbiol. 112:1609-1625.

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