Back to search results

PhD Studentship: Are Shellfish Hotspots for AMR Evolution and Transmission?

University of Exeter - College of Life and Environmental Sciences

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Cornwall, Penryn
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: From £15,609
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 22nd November 2021
Closes: 7th January 2022
Reference: 4379

Globally, antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has emerged as a critically important health threat. Drug resistant infections are rising with estimates suggesting up to 10 million fatalities each year by 2050 (O’Neill, 2016). AMR is a true One Health challenge, with the environment critical to the emergence and dissemination of AMR bacteria, and the resistance genes they harbour, to humans and animals. Aquatic systems likely represent a particularly important milieu for the environmental release, mixing, evolution and spread of AMR bacteria and resistance genes. 

Shellfish are recognised as an increasingly important food source, necessary to support the rising global demand for aquatic protein. However, there are known human health risks associated with bivalves because of their propensity to bioaccumulate pathogens, toxins and chemicals present in the surrounding environment. These risks likely also extend to concentration of AMR bacteria, genes and antimicrobials released into the environment from sources such as wastewater treatment plants and combined sewer overflows. This project will utilise a combination of next generation sequencing, experimental and quantitative approaches to investigate: 1) the prevalence and diversity of AMR bacteria in bivalve molluscs, 2) the evolution of AMR in the shellfish microbiome and 3) the risk posed to human health in terms of estimating transmission risk using approaches from quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA).  

First oysters and mussels will be sampled from a variety of locations and the AMR "resistome" characterised using next generation sequencing and metagenomic approaches. Evolution experiments will use a combination of genetically tagged bacteria/plasmids to study the frequency of gene transfer in a live bivalve shellfish model system relative to the surrounding water. Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) between human associated Enterobacteriaceae and indigenous marine Vibrio spp. will be studied using a fluorescent plasmid reporter system to differentiate plasmid donors and recipients. We will investigate the effects of differing selection pressure (e.g. presence/absence of low concentrations of antibiotics and heavy metals) on the evolution of resistance in the bivalve microbiome. Transmission studies will focus on estimation of human exposure based on individual and population level consumption data as a function of AMR bacteria / resistance gene prevalence and diversity. If time allows this work will be extended to a cohort study of shellfish consumers compared to controls, focusing on gut colonisation of individuals with 3rd generation cephalosporin resistant E. coli which is the WHO recommended One Health AMR surveillance target. 

This PhD proposal is data driven, translational and truly interdisciplinary combining aspects of microbiology, molecular biology, bioinformatics, evolutionary ecology, epidemiology and risk assessment. The student will be based at the University of Exeter's Cornwall Campus and Cefas in Weymouth. The large, international and well-funded groups of the Exeter PIs share a large state-of-the art laboratory, providing extensive opportunities for skills development and network building.  

 Funding:

This award provides annual funding to cover Home tuition fees and a tax-free stipend.  For students who pay Home tuition fees the award will cover the tuition fees in full, plus at least £15,609 per year tax-free stipend.  Students who pay international tuition fees are eligible to apply, but should note that the award will only provide payment for part of the international tuition fee and no stipend.

We value your feedback on the quality of our adverts. If you have a comment to make about the overall quality of this advert, or its categorisation then please send us your feedback
Advert information

Type / Role:

Subject Area(s):

Location(s):

PhD tools
 

PhD Alert Created

Job Alert Created

Your PhD alert has been successfully created for this search.

Your job alert has been successfully created for this search.

Ok Ok

PhD Alert Created

Job Alert Created

Your PhD alert has been successfully created for this search.

Your job alert has been successfully created for this search.

Manage your job alerts Manage your job alerts

Account Verification Missing

In order to create multiple job alerts, you must first verify your email address to complete your account creation

Request verification email Request verification email

jobs.ac.uk Account Required

In order to create multiple alerts, you must create a jobs.ac.uk jobseeker account

Create Account Create Account

Alert Creation Failed

Unfortunately, your account is currently blocked. Please login to unblock your account.

Email Address Blocked

We received a delivery failure message when attempting to send you an email and therefore your email address has been blocked. You will not receive job alerts until your email address is unblocked. To do so, please choose from one of the two options below.

Max Alerts Reached

A maximum of 5 Job Alerts can be created against your account. Please remove an existing alert in order to create this new Job Alert

Manage your job alerts Manage your job alerts

Creation Failed

Unfortunately, your alert was not created at this time. Please try again.

Ok Ok

Create PhD Alert

Create Job Alert

When you create this PhD alert we will email you a selection of PhDs matching your criteria.When you create this job alert we will email you a selection of jobs matching your criteria. Our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy apply to this service. Any personal data you provide in setting up this alert is processed in accordance with our Privacy Notice

Create PhD Alert

Create Job Alert

When you create this PhD alert we will email you a selection of PhDs matching your criteria.When you create this job alert we will email you a selection of jobs matching your criteria. Our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy apply to this service. Any personal data you provide in setting up this alert is processed in accordance with our Privacy Notice

 
 
 
More PhDs from University of Exeter

Show all PhDs for this organisation …

More PhDs like this
Join in and follow us

Browser Upgrade Recommended

jobs.ac.uk has been optimised for the latest browsers.

For the best user experience, we recommend viewing jobs.ac.uk on one of the following:

Google Chrome Firefox Microsoft Edge