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Understanding the multiple antibiotic resistant ESKAPE pathogen Acinetobacter baumannii

Principal Supervisor: Professor David Grainger, School of Biosciences

Co-supervisor: Manuel Banzhaf

PhD project title: Understanding the multiple antibiotic resistant ESKAPE pathogen Acinetobacter baumannii

University of Registration: University of Birmingham

Project outline:

The ESKAPE pathogens, which evade most commonly used antibiotics, are a small group of bacteria, identified by the WHO in 2017, as presenting the greatest risk to global human health. Amongst these organisms, Acinetobacter baumannii, is an important cause of antibiotic resistant infections acquired in hospitals. Indeed, it is still not understood if A. baumannii has a natural habitat outside of the hospital setting. In addition to escaping the effects of antibiotic treatment, A. baumannii is able to survive for extended periods in the absence of moisture. In a clinical setting, this means that the organism is difficult to eradicate from surfaces. The goal of the project is to understand how A. baumannii can evade antibiotic treatment and other extreme environments. To do this you will use a combination of genomic, genetic, molecular and biochemical tools. You will begin by using genome-wide approaches to understand how A. baumannii responds to extreme environments. It is expected that this approach will identify important genetic determinants for resistance to antibiotics and other extreme conditions. Once key genes are identified, the mechanisms of resistance will be determined at the molecular level.  

References:

  1. Mea HJ, Yong PVC, Wong EH (2021) An overview of Acinetobacter baumannii pathogenesis: Motility, adherence and biofilm formation. Microbiol Res. 247:126722.

BBSRC Strategic Research Priority: Sustainable Agriculture and Food: Microbial Food Safety & Understanding the Rules of Life: Microbiology & Integrated Understanding of Health: Pharmaceuticals

Techniques that will be undertaken during the project:

Protein purification, Chromatin Immunoprecipitation, Illuminia Sequencing and associated bioinformatics, PCR, Radioisotopes, Microscopy, In vitro DNA binding assays, Reporter assays, Microbial cell culture, mutagenesis, drug uptake assays, antibiotic sensitivity assays, chemical genomics.

Contact: Professor David Grainger, University of Birmingham