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Understanding the role of bacterial structures in the transfer of antibiotic resistance genes during conjugation

Antibiotics are a precious and diminishing resource. There is a desperate need to reduce or replace the use of antibiotics to treat bacterial infections, which is an important veterinary and medical pursuit in this new age of antibiotic-resistant “superbugs”. The treatment of bacterial infections in animals and humans has relied on the use of antibiotics. One consequence of the use of these drugs is antibiotic resistance, which is now one of our most serious global health threats. Bacteria can become resistant to antibiotics through lateral gene transfer of resistance genes, which are often located on mobile elements such as plasmids and transposons. This project will focus on one such mechanism, conjugation, which is a process by which one bacterium transfers genetic material to another through direct cell- to-cell contact. Apart from the conjugation apparatus, very little is known about the role that bacterial structures play in conjugation. Here, we will examine the role of numerous structures in DNA transfer efficiency using molecular technology and microbial genetics, which may provide new targets and strategies through which the transfer of antibiotic resistance genes may be prevented.
Essential criteria: 
Minimum entry requirements can be found here:
Department of Microbiology, Infection, Gastrointestinal infection, Antibiotics, Antibiotic Diarrhoea, Hospital infection, Lateral gene transfer, Conjegation, Antibiotic Resistance
Available options 
Masters by research
Short projects
Time commitment 
Top-up scholarship funding available 
Physical location 
Clayton Campus
Yogitha Srikhanta
Assoc Prof 
Priscilla Johanesen

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