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Using Genomics and Peptidomics to Identify and Optimize Antibiofilm Peptides against Multi-drug Resistant Bacteria


Project Description

The UK’s Chief Medical Officer raised the alarm in 2013, saying antibiotic resistant is a “ticking time bomb” comparable to climate change and terrorism. Our team are highly committed to make a contribution to this serious health threat. In this project we will focus on chronic infections that are associated with the production of bacterial biofilms found especially in implant associated infections and in people with chronic lung infections.

We will use cutting edge computer technology to in silico screen different genomes to predict the sequence of peptides with potential antibiofilm activity. In addition, we use information gained from the natural peptidome in the human lung to identify peptides with antibiofilm activity. This approach is based on the fact that some antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) have been shown to possess strong antibiofilm activity. AMPs are a class of compounds that are highly diverse in sequence, structure and modes of action. The WHO identified a priority pathogen list for the development of novel antimicrobials, for example in the CRITICAL section, a) carbapenem-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Using a multidisciplinary approach, this project will identify optimize peptides with antibiofilm activity against different multi-drug resistant bacteria - as potential novel therapeutics.

Skills we expect a student to develop/acquire whilst pursuing this project
- Peptide synthesis on cellulose
- Peptide synthesis on resin
- Analytical and preparatory HPLC
- Electrospray mass spectroscopy
- toxicology and efficacy studies on different cell cultures (together with bacteria)
- high resolution MALDI-ToF mass spectrometry
- training in GaitCad a special software to handle and analyse large data sets

HOW TO APPLY
Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the supervisors to discuss project details.

The current studentship is part of the MRC London Intercollegiate Doctoral Training Partnership (MRC-LID) between The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and St. George’s University of London (SGUL)

Subsequently applications can be made by following the instructions on the MRC-LID site at http://mrc-lid.lshtm.ac.uk/apply/.

Please click on the following link for more information about the MRC-LID programme: http://mrc-lid.lshtm.ac.uk/

For more information on funding please go to: http://mrc-lid.lshtm.ac.uk/faqs/

The deadline for applications is Wednesday 1 January 2020.

Funding Notes

To be eligible for a full studentship award applicants must
(a) hold, or expect to obtain before September 2020, a 1st or 2.1 Honours degree (as a minimum), and
(b) be a UK or EU citizen, and
(c) have maintained ordinary residence in the UK continuously for the 3 years preceding 1 September 2020.

To be generally eligible for a fees-only studentship award applicants must
(a) hold, or expect to obtain before September 2020, a 1st or 2.1 Honours degree (as a minimum), and
(b) be a UK or EU citizen.

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