Klebsiella, phages and the capsule: what’s going on?


With the looming antimicrobial resistance crisis, bacteriophages are increasingly investigated as a potential alternative to antibiotics, but the way they mechanisticly interact with bacteria is poorly understood for many systems.

This project will focus on the interaction between phages, the Klebsiella capsule and biofilm formation, using transposon-directed insertion sequencing (TraDIS) and advanced biofilm models.

We are recruiting a student on a BBSRC-funded project at the Quadram Institute Bioscience in the group of Dr Evelien Adriaenssens, which focuses on bacteriophages and their use to improve human health.

The project is a collaboration with the groups of Prof Mark Webber (antimicrobial resistance, biofilms, TraDIS) and Prof Cynthia Whitchurch (biofilms, microscopy).

In this interdisciplinary microbiology project, the student will learn a variety of techniques in molecular microbiology, sequence data analysis and fluorescence microscopy to understand how phage infection drives Klebsiella capsule variation and how that affects virulence and biofilm formation.

The ideal candidate has at minimum an Upper Second Class Honours degree in Microbiology, Biotechnology or equivalent, experience in a microbiology lab and most importantly a passion for bacteriophage research.

Given the interdisciplinary nature of the project, we are looking for a candidate who is willing and enthusiastic to learn a range of different laboratory and computational skills.

The student will be based in the new purpose-built Quadram Institute building located on the Norwich Research Park, where they will join a vibrant research community at the interface between fundamantal and translational research into gut microbiology.

The QIB offers a wide range of training opportunities, laboratory and computational scientific support and funding to attend conferences, preparing the student for any career of their choice.


Adriaenssens, 2021, Phage diversity in the human gut microbiome: a taxonomist’s perspective. mSystems 6:000799-21.

Turner, Adriaenssens, Tolstoy, Kropinski, 2021, Phage annotation guide: guidelines for assembly and high-quality annotation. PHAGE 2:170-182.

Yasir, Turner, Bastkowski, et al, 2020, TraDIS-Xpress: a high-resolution whole-genome assay identifies novel mechanisms of triclosan action and resistance. Genome Research 30:239-249.

Holden, Yasir, Turner, Wain, Charles, Webber, 2021, Massively parallel transposon mutagenesis identifies essential genes for biofilm formation in Escherichia coli. Microbial Genomics 7:000673.

Wilksch, Yang, Clements, et al, 2011, MrkH, a novel c-di-GMP-dependent transcriptional activator, controls Klebsiella pneumoniae biofilm formation by regulating Type 3 fimbriae expression.