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Muriel Breteau

Job Title
Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher
Life Sciences
Research Interests

I graduated in France in the field of Biotechnologies in September 2012. During my undergraduate studies I did several internships in France, Switzerland and Germany gaining experience in different topics: molecular biology, microbiology, biochemistry and cell culture.

Now I am a first year PhD student at the University of Warwick and I work on the development of phage therapy to treat canine skin infection due to Staphylococcus pseudintermedius, a coagulase-positive bacterium, since October 2012. Recently, a methicillin-resistant S. pseudintermedius has emerged causing urinary tract and post-operative infections in addition to skin infections.

Phage therapy where phages, the viruses of bacteria, are administered to cure an infection, can be an alternative treatment and an effective way to overcome the problem of resistance to antibiotics. There are two types of phages: lytic phages, which lyse their host and release new viruses, and temperate phages, which have the ability to survive within their host (lysogeny) and occasionally enter the lytic cycle. Temperate phages are usually not regarded as appropriate for phage therapy but it is possible to mutate them so that they are no longer able to establish lysogeny, and able to infect and kill lysogens.

Project plan

  1. Isolation of both lytic and temperate phages from environmental samples and S. pseudintermedius strains respectively. Temperate phages will be mutated to make them exclusively lytic.

  2. Characterization of the isolated bacteriophages to ensure safety and efficacy of the treatment.

  3. Development of phage cocktails in vitro to obtain a broad-spectrum product.

  4. Assessment of the cocktails' efficiency in vivo through a pre-clinical trial in mice.


Prof. Finn K. Vogensen and Dr. Arshnee Moodley from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, are co-supervisors of this project.

Funding source

This project is part of the European TRAIN-ASAP programme (Training and Research AImed at Novel Antibacterial Solutions in Animal and People). It is a Marie Curie Initial Training Network funded by the 7th framework of the European Commission. The programme is dedicated to the training of 14 early-stage researchers (ESRs) based in 10 different European countries and whose research is aimed at the development of novel antibacterial solutions for humans and animals.