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Dr Eleanor Jameson

Job Title
Senior Research Fellow
Department
Life Sciences
Phone
024 765 73488
Research Interests

WISB Research Career Development Fellow, 2017 to present

I investigate the practical application of bacteriophages (viruses of bacteria).

My research spans three main areas:
Environmental microbiology
Medical microbiology
Applied microbiology and phage therapy

Phages have the potential to manipulate important microbial communities that are all around us, but these phages remain under-studied. In my environmental research I have studied ocean bacteria that produce oxygen, soil microbiomes that affect crop yield and freshwater processing. These are highly varied environments which harbor different bacterial communities, however bacterial functions are often conserved and the rules that govern these systems remain the same. Everywhere we find bacteria we also find their phages. Understanding the roles of these phages is key to unlocking their potential to shape these environments. I investigate how phages can be used to kill pathogenic bacteria and prevent or remove harmful and costly biofilms and biofouling.

My fellowship focuses on phage-host interaction in the gut microbiome and their impacts on human health and disease. I am interested in the impact of phages on general human health and the role they play in antibiotic resistance. This medical microbiology research focuses on gram negative bacteria, particularly Klebsiella and it's phages. Klebsiella is a World Health Organisation priority pathogen, with high levels of antimicrobial resistance, making it difficult to treat. My research has shown that Klebsiella produces trimethylamine (TMA) in the human gut, which contributes to health issues including cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome-associated. The substrates for TMA production come from the diet, particularly from meat and dairy products. The bacterial metabolic pathways for TMA production are understood for the pre-cursors choline, carnitine and glycine betaine and my research has revealed which bacteria contain these pathways. Phages are known to be in approximately equal proportions to bacteria in human feaces and have the potential to kill their bacterial hosts. There is a gap in current knowledge; gut phage and bacteria have been well catalogued, however there remains a lack of understanding of functional metabolism and phage-bacteria-host interactions.

Phages have the potential to be applied as an alternative or complement to antibiotics. I work with both aerobic and anaerobic culturing of bacteria both from the environment and clinical bacteria from hospitals. These bacterial cultures enable me to isolate phages that specifically target these bacteria.

Biography

Post-doctoral research fellow, The University of Warwick, 2012-2016. Anaerobic microbial degradation of quaternary amines to TMA. Contribution of TMA to methanogenesis in the environment and human health in the gut.

Post-doctoral research fellow, The University of Exeter, 2008-2011. Industrially funded through Shell. Bioengineering, using cyanobacteria for the production of biofuels.

Post-doctoral researcher, Bangor University, 2008. European BioMinE project. Bioengineering. Selective recovery metals from mine waste mediated by bacterial sulfidogenesis.

PhD, Plymouth Marine Laboratory/The University of Warwick, 2004-2008. Molecular studies on the diversity of the marine cyanobacteria Prochlorococcus and their co-occurring phages.

BSc, The University of Liverpool, Marine Biology, 1999-2002.

Memberships: SfAM and the Microbiology Society.

Title Funder Award start Award end
Natural phages to inhibit bacterial-associated cardiovascular diseases (Eleanor Townsend) Medical and Life Sciences Research Fund 01 Feb 2020 30 Jun 2021
Developing a clinically relevant phage cocktail against Klebsiella to prevent biofilm formation BBSRC 01 Feb 2020 31 Oct 2020

Monash Warwick Alliance

National Biofilms Innovation Centre

BBSRC, EPSRC, NERC

Fixed Phage Ltd