NERC CENTA funded PhD student
School of Life Sciences
Email: james dot delaney at warwick dot ac dot uk
My PhD project is funded as part of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Central England NERC Training Alliance (CENTA) Doctoral Training Programme. My research is largely focussed around identifying drivers of antibiotic resistance in the environment, more specifically in UK based river systems.
Until recently, antibiotic resistance was analysed purely as a medical problem, but it is now understood that the environment has a key role to play as a reservoir of antimicrobial resistance genes (AMR). AMR genes located on bacterial plasmids and other horizontally transmitted gene elements can be transported from environmental microorganisms to harmful pathogens, providing them with resistance. One element of my project involves analysing large metagenomic and qPCR datasets, all of which have been derived from sites on the Thames River, in order to gain a greater understanding of the role of the environment in the dissemination of AMR genes.
Furthermore, I am also conducting Microcosm experiments to analyse the impact of sub-lethal doses of antibiotics on AMR gene dissemination in the environment. I quantify antibiotic chemical residue concentrations in a controlled system using Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (LC-MS) and coordinate this with qPCR data in order to determine the impact of the specific antibiotic concentrations on AMR gene prevalence.
Future work will include analysis of river derived sediment samples using HiC deep genome sequencing methods. HiC methods are a set of molecular biology methods used to interpret the spatial organisation of chromatin in a cell, thereby allowing the number of interactions between genomic loci to be quantified. We hope to apply these methods to link AMR genes located on plasmids back to their host organism, to determine the major drivers of environmental AMR.
BSc Medical Genetics – Swansea University.
KESS II funded MSc by Research (Microbiology) – Swansea University.
Visiting Scholar - University of Technology Sydney (UTS).