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Characterising the influence of temperate bacteriophages on bacteria colonising the lung in cystic fibrosis and non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis (HLS/SE/DRFAPP7P/63590)

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  • Full or part time
    Dr Darren Smith
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round

Project Description

Chronic respiratory disease including Cystic Fibrosis (CF) and non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis have high mortality rates due to the progressive loss of lung function linked to bacterial infection. Within these disease groups, inflammation and the production of mucus enables an environment supportive to the colonisation of opportunistic bacteria including Pseudomonas aeruginosa (Pae). Pae evolves rapidly in the lung through alteration of physiology and metabolism (biofilm formation). We here focus on the temperate bacteriophages of Pae that genetically alter their host bacterium by incorporating their viral DNA into the bacterial chromosome. As an integrated phage (prophage) their accessory genome may promote alteration of cell function including antimicrobial resistance that aids bacterial survival in the lower lung.

This research will build on current research themes trying to identify how temperate phages provide a selective advantage for their bacterial host by alteration, addition or subtraction of host cell function aiding adaptation and evolution in the lung. We have previously characterised the metagenomes of inducible viruses from Pae and how they evolve strategies to promote progression in these disease states including complex carbohydrate motifs (Tariq and Everest et al., 2015). We have a large library of bacteriophages from these disease backgrounds (~300 phages), that we will include in downstream research.

You will become part of an active research group using a systems biology approach to characterise phage biology and their role in chronic bacterial infections of the lung. This will include genomic, transcriptomic, proteomic and also metabolomic approaches to unravel the function of the accessory genomes of bacteriophages.

Informal Enquiries
Enquiries regarding this studentship should be made to (academic preferred contact tel/email details): email: [email protected] tel: 0191 243 7730

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see
https://www.northumbria.ac.uk/research/postgraduate-research-degrees/how-to-apply/

Please ensure you quote the advert reference above on your application form.

Eligibility
For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see
https://www.northumbria.ac.uk/research/postgraduate-research-degrees/how-to-apply/

Please ensure you quote the advert reference above on your application form.

How to Apply
For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see
https://www.northumbria.ac.uk/research/postgraduate-research-degrees/how-to-apply/

Please ensure you quote the advert reference above on your application form.

Funding Notes

This studentship is only open to self-funding candidates. Self-funding candidates are expected to pay University fees and to provide their own living costs. In addition, a ‘bench fee’ will have to paid to cover project running costs (at a level that will be determined specifically for each project).

References

• Mohammad Adnan Tariq, Francesca Louise Claire Everest, Lauren Cowley, Anthony DeSoyza, Giles Samuel Holt, Simon Harwood Bridge, Audrey Perry, John D Perry, Stephen Bourke, Stephen Cummings, Clare Veronica Lanyon, Jeremy J Barr and Darren Lee Smith. A Metagenomic approach to characterize temperate bacteriophage populations from cystic fibrosis and non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis patients. 2015. Frontiers in Microbiology, in press

• Paul Purcell, Hannah Jary, Audrey Perry, John D Perry, Christopher J Stewart, Andrew Nelson, Clare Lanyon, Darren L Smith, Stephen P Cummings and Anthony De Soyza (2014). Polymicrobial airway bacterial communities in adult bronchiectasis patients. BMC Microbiology 2014, 14:130 doi:10.1186/1471-2180-14-130

• Smith, Darren, Rooks, David, Fogg, Paul, Darby, Alistair C., Thomson, Nick R., McCarthy, Alan and Allison, Heather (2012) Comparative genomics of Shiga toxin encoding bacteriophages. BMC Genomics, 13 (1). p. 311. ISSN 1471-2164

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