The Bloomsbury Colleges | PhD Studentships | Studentships 2013 | Impact of Eimeria Infection on Campylobacter Colonisation of the Chicken and Microbiome Diversity
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Impact of Eimeria Infection on Campylobacter Colonisation of the Chicken and Microbiome Diversity

Principal supervisor: Dr Damer Blake (RVC)

Co-supervisor: Dr Richard Stabler (LSHTM)

Chickens are the most numerous livestock species in the world, with more than 50 billion produced per annum. Infectious diseases of chickens impact on food security and animal welfare, additionally many pathogens have zoonotic potential. Concerns relating to pathogens such as Campylobacter jejuni and Clostridium perfringens (associated with human infectious intestinal disease and avian necrotic enteritis) have elevated the political and social relevance of these bacteria.

This project will investigate the influence of the enteric microbiota on the outcome of bacterial challenge within the avian intestine, focusing on the relevance of co-infection with protozoan Eimeria parasites. The successful applicant will use a combination of traditional and molecular techniques to sample the prevalence of Eimeria, Campylobacter and C.perfringens in the UK. The influence of challenge by these pathogens on the broader microbiota will be defined using metagenomic sequencing and genotyping of specific isolates. Building on these data the epidemiological relevance of farm management and parasite control strategy on carriage of foodborne zoonotic bacteria will be investigated, informing mathematical models describing pathogen transmission dynamics in a faecal-oral/aerosol model.

Candidate Requirements

This is an exciting opportunity for an individual to join a multi-disciplinary project based at the UK's oldest and largest veterinary school and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to develop skills in microbiology, molecular biology, cutting edge sequencing technology and epidemiology in a high impact scientific field.

A candidate should have a good first degree in a relevant subject. An MSc would be an advantage, as would experience of practical parasitology, bacteriology and/or molecular biology.

Key References

Bull S, et al (2008). Flock health indicators and Campylobacter spp. in commercial housed broilers reared in Great Britain. Appl Environ Microbiol 74:5408-5413.

Collier CT, et al (2008). Coccidia-induced mucogenesis promotes the onset of necrotic enteritis by supporting Clostridium perfringens growth. Vet Immunol Immunopathol 122:104-115.

Clark JD, et al (2012). Eimeria species parasites as novel vaccine delivery vectors: anti-Campylobacter jejuni protective immunity induced by Eimeria tenella-delivered CjaA. Vaccine 30:2683-2688.

Senior NJ, et al (2011). Galleria mellonella as an infection model for Campylobacter jejuni virulence. J Med Microbiol 60:661-669.

Further details about the project may be obtained from:

Principal supervisor: Dr Damer Blake,,

Co-supervisor: Dr Richard Stabler,,

Further information about PhDs at the Royal Veterinary College is available from:

Application forms and details about how to apply are available from:

Closing date for applications is Noon on Monday 11th February 2013