Apply to the NERC GW4 PhD studentship “Context-dependent acquisition of antibiotic resistance mechanisms”

Together with collaborators Prof. Will Gaze (College of Medicine and Health, Exeter), Prof. Angus Buckling (Biosciences, Exeter) and Prof. Ed Feil (Milner Centre for Evolution, Bath) I have an advert up for a 3.5 year PhD position here in Penryn. Funding is contingent on having an excellent (and eligible) candidate to apply. For all the technical details see HERE. A short summary is pasted below (with some more details on project aims, methods and training via the link above):

The dramatic increase in antimicrobial resistance (AMR) forms a global challenge to public health. It is increasingly understood that the natural environment plays a key role in AMR evolution. Pharmaceutical residues and other pollutants in the environment such as metals can select for AMR. Moreover, largescale mixing of human-associated- and environmental bacteria can promote the exchange of resistance genes between strains, providing the genetic substrate for selection. Recent work suggests that such horizontal gene transfer might occur at the same rate as mutation but the relative importance of these two fundamentally distinct genetic mechanisms in generating AMR is not known. In this PhD project, we will design experiments to quantify and compare the prevalence of point mutations versus horizontal gene transfer events in generating resistance. Using flow cytometry and genome sequencing, we will measure the type and rate of genetic change under different realistic pollution scenarios. These data will provide fundamental data on bacterial genome evolution but also provide a scientific basis for pollution management.

We have a great community of scientists on the Penryn Campus with many excellent collaborators in Exeter and in Bath as well. Plus Cornwall is a great place to live, as evidenced by this somewhat gratuituous photo.

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