Research Theme: Infection, Immunity, Antimicrobial Resistance & Repair

Polyamine-based antimicrobials for treatment of antibiotic resistant bacterial pathogens

Lead Supervisor

Dr Ian Blagbrough

Department

Department of Pharmacy & Pharmacology

Project Summary

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is one of the top 10 global health issues. Lack of novel drugs in the clinical pipeline are severely hampering treatment options and driving AMR. We have identified novel polyamine-based compounds displaying activity against major human bacterial pathogens. This project will further define the molecular activity of these compounds using a suite of chemical and molecular microbial methods together with invertebrate infection models.

Project Reference

MRC22IIARBa Blagbrough

Project Enquiries

prsisb@bath.ac.uk

Read the full project description for 'Polyamine-based antimicrobials for treatment of antibiotic resistant bacterial pathogens'.

The spread of antimicrobial resistance plasmids in humans, animals and the environment

Lead Supervisor

Professor Edward Feil

Department

Department of Biology & Biochemistry

Project Summary

Mitigating the global impact of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) requires targeted surveillance and intervention within different clinical, community, animal and environmental settings. This project will help to prioritise such approaches by examining how the adaptation of bacterial strains to different niches impacts on the spread of any AMR plasmids they carry. This interdisciplinary approach will involve bioinformatics, modelling and competition experiments.

Project Reference

MRC22IIARBa Feil

Project Enquiries

e.feil@bath.ac.uk

Read the full project description for 'The spread of antimicrobial resistance plasmids in humans, animals and the environment'.

The regulation of tumour cell cytolysis by cancer associated fibroblasts

Lead Supervisor

Dr Ute Jungwirth

Department

Department of Pharmacy & Pharmacology

Project Summary

Cytotoxic T cells can kill tumour target cells. However, this ability is widely suppressed in the tumour microenvironment. Using the in vitro reconstruction of this environment with three-dimensional tissue cultures, you will investigate how tumour associated fibroblasts in various differentiation states regulate cytolytic tumour cell killing per se and, in collaboration with our industrial partner AstraZeneca, upon therapeutic intervention.

Project Reference

MRC22IIARBa Jungwirth

Project Enquiries

uj217@bath.ac.uk

Read the full project description for 'The regulation of tumour cell cytolysis by cancer associated fibroblasts'.

Escaping host immunity: Characterising immune evasion mechanisms employed by the bacterial pathogen Staphylococcus aureus

Lead Supervisor

Dr Maisem Laabei

Department

Department of Biology & Biochemistry

Project Summary

The complement system plays a major role in defence against infection. How major human pathogens such as Staphylococcus aureus resist this element of host immunity is currently unclear. By employing goldstandard phenotypic, transcriptomic and functional genomic techniques, this project will reveal important virulence factors and virulence gene regulatory networks that promote resistance to complement, offering new targets for future therapeutic intervention.

Project Reference

MRC22IIARBa Laabei

Project Enquiries

ml418@bath.ac.uk

Read the full project description for 'Escaping host immunity: Characterising immune evasion mechanisms employed by the bacterial pathogen Staphylococcus aureus'.

The role of ‘parasitism islands’ in infection by soil-transmitted helminths

Lead Supervisor

Dr Hans-Wilhelm Nützmann

Department

Department of Biology & Biochemistry

Project Summary

Soil-transmitted helminths (STH) infect 1.5 billion people globally and cause a substantial global health burden This project will investigate a novel concept in parasite biology: the physical organisation of important parasitism genes in genomic parasitism islands. In this project, we will investigate architecture, regulation and function of parasitism islands. Understanding the role of parasitism islands could lead to improved STH control and treatment strategies.

Project Reference

MRC22IIARBa Nuetzmann

Project Enquiries

hwn25@bath.ac.uk

Read the full project description for 'The role of ‘parasitism islands’ in infection by soil-transmitted helminths'.

Attributing the source of antimicrobial resistant diarrheal pathogens in African children

Lead Supervisor

Professor Samuel Sheppard

Department

Department of Biology & Biochemistry

Project Summary

Diarrhoeal disease is a major cause of mortality among children in low-income countries. Joining a large MRC funded program you will collect and sequence metagenome samples to quantify the relative contribution of different antimicrobial resistant pathogens to human infection. Time spent in Bath, Bristol and The Gambia will help understand transmission networks, and bioinformatics and machine learning risk models will identify effective interventions.

Project Reference

MRC22IIARBa Sheppard

Project Enquiries

s.k.sheppard@bath.ac.uk

Read the full project description for 'Attributing the source of antimicrobial resistant diarrheal pathogens in African children'.

Research Theme: Neuroscience & Mental Health

Using brain stimulation to understand contributions of higher-level motor function to pathological pain

Lead Supervisor

Dr Janet Bultitude

Department

Department of Psychology

Project Summary

Pain in a given area of the body could be related to how the area is represented in a part of the brain that controls movement (primary motor cortex). However, treatments based on changing this representation have limited success. To work towards better treatment, this project will use cognitive testing and brain stimulation to test the possibility that other brain areas responsible for planning, interpreting, and understanding movement are impaired in chronic pain.

Project Reference

MRC22NMHBa Bultitude

Project Enquiries

j.bultitude@bath.ac.uk

Read the full project description for 'Using brain stimulation to understand contributions of higher-level motor function to pathological pain'.

Understanding the neural mechanisms of antidepressant withdrawal and links with depressive symptoms, reward processing and relapse

Lead Supervisor

Dr Katherine Button

Department

Department of Psychology

Project Summary

This project will investigate the effects of antidepressant withdrawal on neural markers of reward and emotion processing using event-related potentials (ERPs) in a longitudinal study of patients in primary care. We will also test whether changes in neural markers early in the withdrawal process predict depressive relapse and investigate links between neural markers and mood changes, focusing particularly on experiences of reward in everyday life.

Project Reference

MRC22NMHBa Button

Project Enquiries

k.s.button@bath.ac.uk

Read the full project description for 'Understanding the neural mechanisms of antidepressant withdrawal and links with depressive symptoms, reward processing and relapse'.

Effects of cannabis on the adolescent brain and epigenetic aging

Lead Supervisor

Dr Tom Freeman

Department

Department of Psychology

Project Summary

Adolescence is a critical neurodevelopmental period which may confer greater vulnerability to the effects of cannabis. To test this hypothesis, you will apply a range of advanced methods (structural MRI, diffusion MRI, brain aging, epigenetic aging) to a recently completed longitudinal study. You will work with young people to create a video resource informed by your results to create evidence-based drugs education and encourage youth engagement with science.

Project Reference

MRC22NMHBa Freeman

Project Enquiries

t.p.freeman@bath.ac.uk

Read the full project description for 'Effects of cannabis on the adolescent brain and epigenetic aging'.

Advanced detection of synthetic cannabinoids used in prisons in the South West (GW4) region

Lead Supervisor

Professor Stephen Husbands

Department

Department of Pharmacy & Pharmacology

Project Summary

Drug abuse can have serious neuronal adverse effects leading to major mental health issues. We will apply advanced detection methods to synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists (Spice) in our interdisciplinary research project assaying HMP and Police samples. We will then research mental health and cognitive consequences of use of these drugs in prisons, using outcomes data to track how this predicts social and psychological functioning following release.

Project Reference

MRC22NMHBa Husbands

Project Enquiries

s.m.husbands@bath.ac.uk

Read the full project description for 'Advanced detection of synthetic cannabinoids used in prisons in the South West (GW4) region'.

Predicting the dementia-induced changes to neuronal ion channels: a combined experimental and in silico approach

Lead Supervisor

Professor Alain Nogaret

Department

Department of Physics

Project Summary

Channelopathies in which certain ion channels are over-expressed or absent occur in many neurological diseases. Currently, changes in neuronal function cannot be linked to underlying mutations in ion channel proteins. This interdisciplinary project will combine sophisticated computational methods with brain slice electrophysiology to quantify changes in specific ion channels in Alzheimer’s disease and provide important insights into neurophysiological dysfunction.

Project Reference

MRC22NMHBa Nogaret

Project Enquiries

a.r.nogaret@bath.ac.uk

Read the full project description for 'Predicting the dementia-induced changes to neuronal ion channels: a combined experimental and in silico approach'.

Being in a child's shoes: Assessing changes in parents’ empathy and perspective-taking by using a combination of virtual reality and EEG methods

Lead Supervisor

Dr Karin Petrini

Department

Department of Psychology

Project Summary

Perspective-taking (cognitive awareness of another’s state) and empathy (emotional/affective response) are important for sensitive and constructive parenting. However, these constructs are difficult to induce and measure and their underlying brain mechanisms during parenting remain unclear. This project will use a combination of virtual reality, electroencephalogram (EEG) and self-report measures to examine changes in parents’ empathy to inform future interventions.

Project Reference

MRC22NMHBa Petrini

Project Enquiries

k.petrini@bath.ac.uk

Read the full project description for 'Being in a child's shoes: Assessing changes in parents’ empathy and perspective-taking by using a combination of virtual reality and EEG methods'.

Implantable microchips for real-time monitoring of endocrine disorders

Lead Supervisor

Dr Nuno Reis

Department

Department of Chemical Engineering

Project Summary

Measuring endocrine hormones is very challenging as the level of these hormones in blood can change very rapidly. This limits the ability to correctly diagnose patients with endocrine disorders and to research the interlinks between endocrine system, stress response and onset of chronic diseases. This project will use novel supramolecular chemistry embedded in a novel microchip to enable non-invasive real-time monitoring of key endocrine hormones.

Project Reference

MRC22NMHBa Reis

Project Enquiries

n.m.reis@bath.ac.uk

Read the full project description for 'Implantable microchips for real-time monitoring of endocrine disorders'.

Using mobile electroencephalography (EEG) and computational modelling to understand the role of sleep in disease progression in amnestic mild cognitive impairment

Lead Supervisor

Dr George Stothart

Department

Department of Psychology

Project Summary

Disruption to sleep causes dementia pathology and symptoms. New mobile technology has made it possible to measure brain activity during sleep remotely, in patients’ natural home environments. The project will harness this new technology to understand the role of sleep in early dementia, bringing together clinical neurologists, neuroscientists, biomedical mathematicians and an industrial partner to provide a unique, ambitious and interdisciplinary project.

Project Reference

MRC22NMHBa Stothart

Project Enquiries

g.stothart@bath.ac.uk

Read the full project description for 'Using mobile electroencephalography (EEG) and computational modelling to understand the role of sleep in disease progression in amnestic mild cognitive impairment'.