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Exploiting pathogens for the treatment of clinical and veterinary infections

  • School: School of Science and Technology
  • Study mode(s): Full-time / Part-time
  • Starting: 2023
  • Funding: UK student / EU student (non-UK) / International student (non-EU) / Fully-funded


NTU's Fully-funded PhD Studentship Scheme 2023

Project ID: S&T2

Clinical and veterinary isolates of Klebsiella spp. are often multi-drug-resistant (MDR) and cause hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) and infections in animals. MDR Klebsiella oxytoca is being detected with increasing frequency in clinical and veterinary laboratories. Genome-based analyses show K. oxytoca represents a complex incorporating six different species of bacteria: K. oxytoca, K. michiganensis, K. grimontii, K. huaxiensis, K. spallanzanii and K. pasteurii.

K. michiganensis and K. oxytoca are associated most with HAIs, including necrotizing enterocolitis in preterm infants and antibiotic-associated haemorrhagic colitis (AAHC). K. michiganensis is most often associated with veterinary infections. Many K. oxytoca-related bacteria produce chemicals that contribute to AAHC, but they and their bacteriophages also encode potential antimicrobials that may be of use in treating MDR Klebsiella spp. and other ESKAPE pathogens.

This project will build on work being done with our collection of genome-sequenced K. oxytoca-related bacteria and bacteriophages, and publicly available genomic data. You will use high-throughput laboratory-based approaches informed by bioinformatics analyses to produce a range of antimicrobials encoded within K. oxytoca-related genomes. The killing potential of these antimicrobials will be determined against a range of ESKAPE and K. oxytoca complex pathogens. Mechanisms of action of the antimicrobials will be characterized using transposon insertion mutagenesis and sequencing. The outputs from this project will greatly increase the range of alternative therapies or adjuncts to existing therapies available for the treatment or prevention of ESKAPE and K. oxytoca-related infections in clinical and veterinary settings.

This project would suit a student keen to develop a mixture of laboratory and computational skills, with guided learning provided to develop R- and Linux-based programming skills. You would be part of the Antimicrobial Resistance, Omics and Microbiota (AROM) research group based on the Clifton Campus of Nottingham Trent University (NTU). In addition to attending weekly AROM meetings where you would have the opportunity to present your work, you would be encouraged to present your work at national and international scientific conferences and to publish your research findings in peer-reviewed journals. You would also receive additional relevant training through events and activities organized through NTU's Doctoral School and the School of Science and Technology.

Applicants should hold, or be expected to hold, a UK Master’s degree (or UK equivalent according to NARIC) with a minimum of a commendation, and/or a UK 1st Class/2.1 Bachelor’s Honour’s Degree (or UK equivalent according to NARIC) in Microbiology, Biotechnology, Molecular Biology, or a related Biosciences subject.

Supervisory Team:

Professor Lesley Hoyles

Dr David Negus (ECR)

Entry qualifications

For the eligibility criteria, visit our studentship application page.

How to apply

To make an application, please visit our studentship application page.

Fees and funding

This is part of NTU's 2023 fully-funded PhD Studentship Scheme.

Guidance and support

Application guidance can be found on our studentship application page.

Still need help?

+44 (0)115 941 8418