PhD opportunity- novel approaches to detecting and treating biofilms in Cystic Fibrosis at the University of Nottingham, Closure 24th March 2019

Project Title: Novel approaches to detect and treat Pseudomonas aeruginosa antibiotic resistant biofilms in cystic fibrosis.

Supervisor 1: Miguel Cámara
Supervisor 2: Luisa Martínez-Pomares
Application deadline: 24th March 2019

Project Overview:

Cystic fibrosis patients are regularly colonised by Pseudomonas aeruginosa (P. aeruginosa) which avoids the impact of the immune system and antibiotic therapy through the formation of biofilms. Under certain conditions P. aeruginosa “transforms” into a virulent state through the production of quorum sensing signal molecules (QSSMs). This results in increase damage to the lung and likely to play a key role in the exacerbation process. P. aeruginosa uses quorum sensing (QS), a widespread bacterial intercellular communication system based on the production of these QSSMs, the extracellular concentration of which is related to the population density of the producing bacterial strain. QS systems control diverse phenotypes including the production of virulence determinants, biofilm formation and antibiotic resistance hence representing an important therapeutic target.

Current P. aeruginosa diagnostic methods are not suitable for point-of-care (POC), as in some cases they incorrectly report the presence of P. aeruginosa, and do not detect virulence status. We have recently generated antibodies against quorum sensing molecules and in this PhD project we will evaluate the potential of these antibodies for their incorporation into POC diagnostic test to specifically detect P. aeruginosa infections with high sensitivity but also their therapeutic potential to treat biofilms produced by this organism by sensitising them to antibiotics.

This studentship will be imbedded within the Nottingham branch of the National Biofilm Innovation Centre (https://biofilms.ac.uk ) and hence will benefit from the highly multidisciplinary training including entrepreneurial and the participation in industrial engagement events of this Centre.

Techniques:

Amongst the techniques to be used in this project will be, immunoassays, molecular biology techniques, protein purification, confocal microscopy, use of a range of biofilm and disease models and analytical chemistry.

Project Funding: Cystic Fibrosis Trust and The University of Nottingham under the umbrella of the National Biofilms Innovation Centre

Subject areas: Biochemistry, Immunology, Medical / Clinical Science, Microbiology, Molecular Biology

Contact and email for application enquiries: Dr Charlotte May c.may@nottingham.ac.uk .