Research Associate in Molecular Bacteriology
Imperial College London Department of Infectious Disease
United Kingdom

Job summary

The research programme in molecular bacteriology, led by Prof. José R Penadés, will analyse the impact of phages in the emergence of antibiotic resistant bacteria. Bacteriophage-mediated gene transfer is a major evolutionary force occurring by two well-described mechanisms: generalized and specialized transduction. We have recently discovered that Staphylococcus and Salmonella phages engage in lateral transduction, the most powerful mode of...

Job listing information

  • Reference MED03488
  • Date posted 15 November 2022
  • Closing date 15 December 2022

Key information about the role

  • Location South Kensington Campus - On site only
  • Position type Full time, fixed term
  • Salary £43,093 – £50,834 plus benefits
  • Department Department of Infectious Disease
  • Category Researcher / Non Clinical Researcher

Job description

Job summary

The research programme in molecular bacteriology, led by Prof. José R Penadés, will analyse the impact of phages in the emergence of antibiotic resistant bacteria. Bacteriophage-mediated gene transfer is a major evolutionary force occurring by two well-described mechanisms: generalized and specialized transduction. We have recently discovered that Staphylococcus and Salmonella phages engage in lateral transduction, the most powerful mode of transduction described to date.  In this project, analysing important pathogens, we will investigate whether this ground-breaking strategy of gene transfer is widespread in nature.

We anticipate that the results of this study will challenge basic and fundamental concepts of phage biology, which will be revisited here. Moreover, the proposed research has the potential to fundamentally restructure our understanding of the roles of bacteriophages in bacterial evolution, including the development of antimicrobial resistance and virulence in clinical strains.

Selected papers from the lab

Fillol-Salom A, Rostøl JT, Ojiogu AD, Chen J, Douce G, Humphrey S, Penadés JR. 2022. Bacteriophages benefit from mobilizing pathogenicity islands encoding immune systems against competitors. Cell 185:3248-3262.e20.

Chen J, Quiles-Puchalt N, Chiang YN, Bacigalupe R, Fillol-Salom A, Chee MSJ, Fitzgerald JR, Penadés JR. 2018. Genome hypermobility by lateral transduction. Science 362:207–212.

Tormo-Más MÁ, Mir I, Shrestha A, Tallent SM, Campoy S, Lasa I, Barbé J, Novick RP, Christie GE, Penadés JR. 2010. Moonlighting bacteriophage proteins derepress staphylococcal pathogenicity islands. Nature 465:779–782.

Haag AF, Podkowik M, Ibarra-Chávez R, Sol FG del, Ram G, Chen J, Marina A, Novick RP, Penadés JR. 2021. A regulatory cascade controls Staphylococcus aureus pathogenicity island activation. Nat Microbiol 6:1300–1308.

Fillol-Salom A, Bacarizo J, Alqasmi M, Ciges-Tomas JR, Martínez-Rubio R, Roszak AW, Cogdell RJ, Chen J, Marina A, Penadés JR. 2019. Hijacking the hijackers: Escherichia coli pathogenicity islands redirect helper phage packaging for their own benefit. Mol Cell 75:1020-1030.e4.

Duties and responsibilities

    • To take initiatives in the planning of research
    • To direct the work of small research teams
    • To conduct data analysis
    • To write reports for submission to research sponsors
    • To present findings to colleagues and at conferences
    • To submit publications to refereed journals
    • To develop contacts and research collaborations within the College and the wider community
    • To promote the reputation of the Group, the Department and the College
    • To provide guidance to PhD Students
    • To maintain highly organised and accurate record of experimental work
    • To actively participate in the research programme of the Group
    • To participate in Group research meetings and internal seminars
    • To contribute to the smooth running of the Group’s laboratories and, facilities with other scientists, clinicians, technicians and students within the laboratories
    • Assist in the supervision of undergraduate and postgraduate research students and research assistants as required
    • Any other duties as may be deemed reasonable by Head of group as well as Head of Division/Department/Section

Essential requirements

    • Hold a PhD in microbiology or a closely related discipline.

Further information

Should you require any further details on the role please contact: José R Penadés, j.penades@imperial.ac.uk


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