We are currently advertising National Productivity Investment Fund Industrial CASE studentships with a deadline of the 16th July 2018.

02 / 10 / 2017

New antibiotics from ants and plants (WILKINSON_J18DTP2)

how to apply

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is an increasingly serious threat to global public health, but is an inevitable consequence of the use of antibiotics. This studentship will seek to discover new antifungal and antibacterial agents from plant endophytic bacteria, and the bacterial mutualists that live on the cuticle of fungus farming ants. The project is collaborative with Professor Matt Hutchings at UEA.

Penicillin isolated from the fungus Penicillium notatum sparked ‘The Golden Age of Antibiotics’ which spanned the 1940’s to 1960’s when most major classes of antibiotics were discovered. Indeed, the majority of antibiotics in clinical use today are derived from natural products made by microorganisms. Natural products are important for the treatment of malaria and parasitic diseases (see 2015 Nobel Prize for Medicine), and as environmentally benign agrochemicals to increase crop yields which can help feed the growing population.

Alarmingly, the pipeline of new antibiotics has dried up at a time when AMR and emerging new pathogens has made their discovery a matter of extreme urgency.

The student will have access to cutting-edge research facilities within JIC and UEA as well as a stimulating research and training environment. They will be part of an interdisciplinary team and through the project they will gain an excellent foundation in natural products chemistry, molecular microbiology, microbial biotechnology and synthetic biology. They will mine multiple microbial genomes to identify new natural products with anti-infective activity. There will be opportunity to interact with industry and other research institutes.

The combination of skills and experience provided by this studentship will make the successful candidate highly employable in academia and industry.