The impact of antibiotics on the early life microbiota

Lead Research Organisation: University of East Anglia
Department Name: Graduate Office

Abstract

We are born sterile, but soon become colonised by complex microbial communities, termed the microbiota which are critical to our health. Importantly, the acquisition and development of the early life microbiota can be influenced by numerous factors and antibiotic treatment is suggested as among the most significant, leading to an immediate reduction in microbial abundance and species diversity.
Antibiotics are highly prescribed during the first few years of life, particularly when infants are residing in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). In addition, exposing the early life gut microbiota to significant levels of antibiotics may create an important reservoir of resistant strains and of transferable resistance genes, the so called "resistome", which may correlate with the increasing incidence of antibiotic-resistant and more infective pathogens.

The goal of this PhD studentship is to determine how antibiotic administration in NICU infants influences the overall microbiota composition and how intensive antibiotic treatment promotes acquisition and carriage of antibiotic resistance genes. This PhD studentship represents an excellent training module for a wide range of microbiology, and bioinformatic techniques utilising human infant samples including; bacterial culturing, RT-PCR, next generation sequencing, and bioinformatics tools. Norwich is a leading microbiology and microbiota research centre and represents an excellent platform for a starting scientific career.

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/M011216/1 01/10/2015 30/09/2023
1652737 Studentship BB/M011216/1 01/10/2015 31/10/2019 Cristina Alcon
 
Description Microbiology Society Travel grant
Amount £280 (GBP)
Organisation Microbiology Society 
Sector Learned Society
Country Unknown
Start 03/2018 
End 03/2018
 
Description Travel grant
Amount £233 (GBP)
Organisation Microbiology Society 
Sector Learned Society
Country Unknown
Start 03/2018 
End 03/2018
 
Description Microbiology Society 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I gave a 20 min talk about my research at the Microbiology Society Conference in Birmingham
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Norwich Science Festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Members of the General Public visited our stand in the centre of Norwich. Everyone was veyr engage with our explanations and we changed their views about health and gut microbiome. We got lost of feedback in our website.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact We were one week working at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition in central London. This is the most prestigious National Science Exhibition Event. The public who attended was very diverse: schools, turists, members of the Royal Society. We prepared a stand in our lab showing all the areas of research we work on.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Saw project 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact We prepared a lesson focus on antibiotic resistance for a local primary school. The lesson was very successful with activities specially focused for the children. A book was published with other lessons from other scientists at the research park, so school can have access to this material
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.sawtrust.org/buy-the-books/saw-antibiotics/
 
Description School lesson activity on the gut microbiome 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact We prepared a school lesson on the gut microbiome for Y5 students and went to 2 schools to deliver the lesson. The lesson was analysed by a pedagogist at the UEA, and we are aiming to give the materials and lesson plans to schools for them to use during their Science week.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description We were in the Michael Mosley show about The Superbugs 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Our lab was filmed on an research we did where we analysed the presenter´s gut microbiome, and found some multidrug resistance bacteria. We explained our findings to the presenter
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08qkz77