PhD project: 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 grow biofilms in the lab, measure their spatial structure using confocal microscopy, and find out how they are affected by antibiotic treatment. We will test out ways of perturbing biofilm spatial structure (eg by growing on different surfaces) and see how this affects the efficacy of antibiotic treatment. This lab-based project will be done in collaboration with one of my current PhD students who is doing computer simulations of biofilm growth.

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 student who likes to perform experimental work. Prior biological knowledge is not required.

Project supervisor

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