The application of clinical microbiological methods to the study of MRSA in the environment (discipline hop)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Birmingham
Department Name: Immunity and Infection


Pathogenic bacteria such as MRSA, and the increased prevalence of antibiotic resistant bacteria in general, are causing significant morbidity and mortality within the UK human population. To date the majority of research effort has concentrated on the study of resistance within the clinical setting as this is where infections are evident. However, it is becoming clear that many human pathogens, in addition to the classical food-borne species such as Salmonella, are present in the environment and particularly in farm animal populations. These environmental reservoirs have traditionally been studied by microbial ecologists, and it is the aim of this training proposal to allow Dr. Will Gaze, a microbial ecologist, to receive training in clinical microbiological theory and method. Dr Gaze will work in the laboratories of Prof. Peter Hawkey (clinical consultant microbiologist at Heartlands Hospital, Regional Microbiologist for the West Midlands, Professor of Clinical Microbiology at Birmingham University). Dr. Gaze will receive intensive training in techniques including, identification, susceptibility testing, typing (PFGE, MLST, SIRUs) and IDI real-time detection. Training will be targeted to analysis of clinical MRSA isolates, but will also include animal isolates and application of molecular analytical methods in total community DNA samples provided by Dr. Gaze. Interdisciplinary studies of pathogens such as MRSA are necessary to fully understand their epidemiology and the extent of environmental reservoirs, the proposed discipline hop will leave Dr. Gaze well placed to formulate and conduct such research in the future.


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