PhD project: Simulating how antibiotics kill persistent infections

Project description

Persistent, chronic infections can be very hard to treat with antibiotics. In these infections, the pathogenic bacteria are often found in densely-packed, surface-associated communities known as biofilms. Biofilms tend to be resistant to antibiotics, but the reasons for this remain unclear. In this project we will use Molecular Dynamics computer simulations to investigate this mystery. In our simulations, individual bacteria will be represented as spheres or rods which can grow, divide and consume nutrients. We will also simulate the diffusion of nutrients and antibiotic and how it interacts with the growing biofilm. This project is interesting because it combines the development of complex spatial structure in multicellular communities (a broad topic that is relevant not just to bacteria but also in cancer, organ development etc), with the clinically relevant topic of antibiotic response and resistance. This project would suit a computationally-minded student. Prior biological knowledge is not required.

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