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Genetic and genomic mapping of human bacterial pathogens
Czech Repiblic (IFMSA CZ) - Masaryk University, Brno
Department of Biology
Prof. Ing. Petr Dvorak, CSc.
Doc. MUDr. David Smajs, Ph.D.
Type of Research Project
- Basic science
What is the background of the project?
Human bacterial pathogens cause several important diseases in humans. In our laboratory, we are focused on infections caused by Escherichia coli and Treponema pallidum. While E. coli strains cause frequent infections of the gastrointestinal tract, urinary tract, and other infections; T. pallidum causes several distinct human and animal diseases including syphilis, yaws, and bejel. Study of these pathogens helps to reveal important virulence factors of these bacteria, which in turn can help to find the right treatment for these infections or can be used for vaccine development.
What is the aim of the project?
The project is mainly focused on genetic and genomic characterizations of bacterial pathogens. For Escherichia coli, the main goal is to characterize virulent strains and identification of virulence determinants. For Treponema pallidum, the ultimate goal is the identification of variable genomic components encoding major antigenic determinants. These targets could be subsequently used for vaccine development.
What techniques and methods are used?
The project is aimed mainly on genetic and genomic characterizations of these bacterial pathogens and includes analyses of genome structure, the phylogeny of pathogens, analysis of virulence determinants, the genetic variability of pathogenic strains, and evolution of these pathogens.
What is the role of the student?
- If the project includes “lab work”
- the student will take active part in the practical aspect of the project
- The tasks of the student will be performed on his/her own
- The tasks will be done under supervision
What are the tasks expected to be accomplished by the student?
The student should become a regular member of a lab and will be responsible for a relatively limited but important laboratory project. The expertise in methods of molecular biology is an advantage for a student.
Will there be any theoretical teaching provided (preliminary readings, lectures, courses, seminars etc)
There will be a required work with scientific literature during the stay. Further information can be found in the following arcticles: Šmajs, D. Strouhal M., Knauf, S. Genetics of human and animal uncultivable treponemal pathogens. Infect. Genet. Evol. 61:92-107. Micenková, L., Beňová, A., Frankovičová, L., Bosák, J., Vrba, M., Ševčíková, A., Kmeťová, M, Šmajs, D. 2017. Human Escherichia coli isolates from hemocultures: septicemia linked to urogenital tract infections is caused by isolates harboring more virulence genes than bacteraemia linked to other conditions. Int J Med Microbiol. 307:182-189.
What is expected from the student at the end of the research exchange? What will be the general outcome of the student?
- The student will prepare a scientific report - The student’s name will be mentioned in a future publication - The student will have the opportunity to present the results together with the supervisor at a conference
What skills are required of the student? Is there any special knowledge or a certain level of studies needed?
Basic laboratory skills, critical thinking and problem-solving abilities, the work with literature
Are there any legal limitations in the student’s involvement
Type of students accepted
This project accepts: - Medical students - Graduated students (less than 6 months) - Pre-Medical students from the American-British system - Students in biomedical fields - Dental medicine students (IADS members)
- Šmajs; D. Strouhal M.; Knauf; S. Genetics of human and animal uncultivable treponemal pathogens. Infect. Genet. Evol. 61:92-107.
- Micenková; L.; Beňová; A.; Frankovičová; L.; Bosák; J.; Vrba; M.; Ševčíková; A.; Kmeťová; M; Šmajs; D. 2017. Human Escherichia coli isolates from hemocultures: septicemia linked to urogenital tract infections is caused by isolates harboring more virulence genes than bacteraemia linked to other conditions. Int J Med Microbiol. 307:182-189.
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