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PhD Studentship: Finding the Source and Tracking Transmission of an Antibiotic-Resistant Superbug, Acinetobacter Baumannii

University of East Anglia - Med

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Norwich
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: See advert details
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 25th November 2021
Closes: 17th January 2022
Reference: EVANS_U22MMB

Understanding where antibiotic-resistant bacteria come from and how they are being spread between patients within a hospital is essential to be able to control the problem. This project is an exciting opportunity to join an international team investigating the epidemiology of the antibiotic resistant superbug, Acinetobacter baumannii, in Main University Hospital, Alexandria, Egypt. The student will be based in Norwich, UK, and will liaise with colleagues in Alexandria to arrange collection of several hundred Acinetobacter baumannii from patients and the hospital environment. These isolates will be genome sequenced, and epidemiological analyses will be conducted to determine how the bacteria are spreading in the hospital. The student will also analyse the antibiotic resistance mechanisms in the bacteria, including the contribution of a bacteriophage in spreading resistance. The data and analyses from this project will be used to improve the control of infection within the hospital and be published in international peer-reviewed journals to benefit the wider medical community.

The student will join the research group of Dr Ben Evans at the Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia, and will be supervised by a research team including Prof John Wain (https://quadram.ac.uk/john-wain/), Dr Alaa Abouelfetouh (https://aiu.edu.eg/profile/assoc-prof-dr-alaa-abouelfetouh/), Dr Lisa Crossman (http://microbesinnorwich.org/researcher/dr-lisa-crossman/), and Dr Dann Turner (https://people.uwe.ac.uk/Person/Dann2Turner). The student will have access to modern laboratories where they will be trained in microbiological and molecular biology techniques such as antibiotic sensitivity testing and qPCR. The student will also be supported by the supervisory team and given specific training in using state-of-the-art bioinformatic techniques to analyse bacterial genomes to discover the epidemiology of Acinetobacter baumannii in the hospital. The student will therefore gain a desirable microbiological skillset combining both laboratory and bioinformatic skills and gain knowledge spanning microbiology, molecular biology, epidemiology, computational biology and evolution.

The Microbes, Microbiomes and Bioinformatics (MMB) Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) is open to UK and international candidates with an undergraduate degree relevant to the scope of the programme for entry in October 2022 and offers postgraduates the opportunity to undertake a 4-year PhD research project funded by the UKRI Medical Research Council to advance the training of students in microbiology, with an emphasis on microbial bioinformatics.

This project has been shortlisted for funding by the MMB DTP programme. Interviews for shortlisted candidates will take place on Tuesday 15 or Wednesday 16 February 2022.

This MMB DTP is committed to equality, diversity, widening participation and inclusion in all areas of the programme. We encourage enquiries and applications from all sections of the community, regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation, and transgender status. We value an aptitude for computer-based analysis, curiosity, and independence of thought, plus a commitment to work across the boundaries between the laboratory and bioinformatics to deliver high-impact research. We welcome applicants from low- and middle-income countries.

For information on eligibility and how to apply: https://www.uea.ac.uk/research/research-with-us/postgraduate-research/latest-phds-and-research-studentships/partnerships-in-doctoral-training

Primary Supervisor :  Dr Benjamin Evans (MED)

Start date: October 2022

For more information on this project, please visit http://www.uea.ac.uk

This project is awarded with a 4-year MMB DTP PhD studentship, which includes support for a maintenance stipend, provided over four years, full tuition fees and research and training costs.

Studentship funding will not normally cover costs associated with visa or health surcharges, or additional costs associated with entry to, and living in the UK.

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