Adapt or die? Understanding how bacterial bioflims evolve under stress


Most bacteria in nature exist within a biofilm; a community of aggregated cells. Biofilms are important in many industrial contexts and most bacterial infections include biofilms. One hallmark of biofilms is their extreme resistance to antimicrobials. However, very little is known about how bacteria in biofilms evolve and adapt to stress. This project aims to study how mixed communities of bacteria of different species (as seen in nature) respond to antimicrobials, using a biofilm evolution model we developed in the lab.

Using a combination of molecular microbiology, genetics and metagenomics, the project will explore how bacterial populations evolve and, how stress influences movement of mobile DNA elements such as plasmids. The student will join a large community of molecular microbiologists within the Quadram Institute in a brand new, purpose-built building with state-of-the-art facilities. The Quadram Institute is based on the Norwich Research Park – home to one of the largest groups of microbiologists in Europe. The student will join a large cohort of graduate researchers with exceptional training opportunities.

Informal enquiries can be sent to