Modelling bacterial individuality during stress

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


It has recently been shown that Salmonella Typhimurium, which causes gastroenteritis, escapes the immune system of humans by diversification of its phenotypes. We would like to determine to what extent the same happens during food processing. The purpose of the study is to model subpopulations of resistant food-borne pathogens emerging from homogeneous populations when subjected to stress. An understanding of these phenomena would lead not only to improvements in food safety but also a better understanding of systems akin to those which induce antibiotic resistance.

To this end, we will first identify regulatory and metabolic mechanisms underlying bi-stable systems, and determine gene systems susceptible to giving rise to subpopulations, using network analysis of data in the literature. Molecular biology experiments will be carried out to check hypotheses about identified systems. The thesis will result in a new approach for predictive modelling.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/M011216/1 01/10/2015 30/09/2023
1799901 Studentship BB/M011216/1 01/10/2016 30/09/2020 Marton Olbei
Description I developed a protocol that can be used to find differences arising from different evolutionary pressures acting on closely related species.
Exploitation Route The methodology I am working on is broadly applicable, and not constrained to microbial networks.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Environment,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology

Description Participated in the "I'm a Scientist, Get me out of here" competition 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact I participated in the "Fast Computing Zone" of the competition, where we would chat with students daily for roughly 60 minutes about any questions they had aboust science. In the evenings I replied to their further questions.
I talked to a lot of (100+) students throughout the event, and hopefully got them interested in my field of work.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018