Plasmids - Gotta catch´em all hos Biologisk Institut - Københavns Universitet

Project type: Master & Bachelor
Background:
Plasmids are extra-chromosomal elements most often found in Bacteria and some Archaea. Their replication is independent of the chromosome, and some can readily transfer to new hosts. Conjugative plasmids notably encode all the genes necessary to establish cell-cell contact and initiate their transfer to a new host, while mobilizable plasmid require the help of conjugative plasmids to transfer. Besides the fundamental interest for plasmids as actors of bacterial genomes evolution by means of horizontal gene transfer, plasmids are also heavily involved in the spread of antimicrobial resistance: a very serious problem in healthcare systems. Yet, most of the knowledge acquired on plasmids focuses is quite limited owing first to the stark focus on a few pathogens hosts and AMR plasmids group, but also to their elusive nature in sequencing data prior to the long-read sequencing revolution. These missing pieces of information are necessary to understand more precisely how genes flow between populations of bacteria, notably between the reservoir of resistance genes in environmental bacteria and clinical pathogens where these are creating havoc.
Types of projects:
You will join Professor Søren Sørensen’s research group, at the Section of Microbiology, where research benefits from strong interdisciplinary and international collaborations on projects that:

  • Capture plasmids from the environment and sequence them, either directly (shotgun) or by recovery in a lab host (exogeneous isolation)
  • Compare the genomic architecture and gene content of plasmids
  • Investigate the genetic diversity within and between groups of plasmids
  • Investigate the host range of genetically modified plasmids
  • Develop innovative methods to capture plasmids without relying on cultivation of their hosts

Techniques covered:
  • Classical microbiology & molecular biology
  • Plasmid genetic manipulation
  • Fluorescent activated cell sorting
  • Long-read sequencing (PacBio, Oxford Nanopore)
  • Bioinformatics

For more information, please contact:
Joseph Nesme (joseph.nesme@bio.ku.dk)
Søren Sørensen (sjs@bio.ku.dk)
READ MORE AT: https://www1.bio.ku.dk/english/research/microbiology/

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