Projects

Recruitment to the NRPDTP and iCASE programmes are now open. The deadline for applications is the 27th November 2017.

02 / 10 / 2017

Developing new antimicrobial peptides to inhibit gut pathogens (NARBAD_Q18DTP)

how to apply

There is an urgent need to discover new antimicrobials to combat the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria, which is now a problem of global importance. Lantibiotics are small antimicrobial peptides produced by some bacteria and can kill important bacterial pathogens. Our gut harbours a complex microbial community that is now recognised to play a key role in our health and wellbeing. The natural lantibiotic production by the gut bacteria may help to keep a balance between species, maintaining a healthy diversity. We have recently isolated novel lantibiotic peptides produced by a gut bacterium that can inhibit food poisoning bacteria and gut pathogens. We want to understand at a molecular level how lantibiotic biosynthesis and immunity is regulated and how to improve its production. The project will also investigate whether these peptides can act as a signalling molecules in the gut environment. We will also determine the impact of these peptides on the structure and function of the gut microbiome using state of the art in vitro fermentation colon models and advanced metagenomic and metabolomic techniques.

This project will provide the student with training in a wide range of techniques from microbiology and molecular biology to peptide analysis, in vitro fermentation, DNA based molecular profiling and protein biochemistry. The student will join a dynamic multinational group focussing on understanding and manipulating the gut microbiota, and will have the opportunity to work in the rapidly expanding fields of antimicrobial discovery and bacterial interactions. We are looking for a highly self-motivated individual who is capable of independent thinking with an aptitude for laboratory work and a strong interest antimicrobials.