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Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are very common, and antibiotics are almost always prescribed for them. Exposure to antibiotics increases the risks of developing infections with bacteria which are resistant to antibiotics in the future, but untreated UTIs can develop into more serious infections requiring hospital admission. We currently do not understand the link between taking antibiotics, and developing resistant urinary tract infections, and we also do not have a way of advising women whether they are likely to have a long or short duration of symptoms. The CONDUCT trial recruited 1200 women who came to see their GP with symptoms or urinary tract infection. A detailed medical and antibiotic usage history was taken and extensive microbiological tests were performed on samples. This doctoral opportunity will use this dataset to answer the following questions:

  1. Which patient factors (including age, sexual behaviours, comorbidities, frequency of previous UTI) are associated with longer durations of symptoms or more severe symptoms?
  2. What is the association between antibiotic usage in the 5 years prior and patterns of sensitivity and resistance to antibiotics on urine culture?
  3. Using the frozen cultures from these infections, can we use whole genome sequencing to identify genetic markers of resistance which are associated with a history of antibiotic usage and markers of virulence which are associated with UTI severity or frequency?

Supervisor/supervisors: Prof Chris Butler, Prof Gail Hayward

Collaborators: Professor Martin Llewelyn, Professor Sarah Walker (Modernising Medical Microbiology group, Nuffield Department of Medicine)

Who should apply: The project will suit a student with a good grasp of statistical methods and training in medical sciences or biology.

Training opportunities: these will be tailored to the candidate's needs including but not limited to; internal and external courses on epidemiological analysis, time spent working alongside cutting edge microbiology researchers, exposure to infectious diseases trials running through our CTU

Research group this DPhil will be embedded in: Infectious diseases and Acute Care Research Group

Funding: This opportunity does not have existing funding so University or external scholarships will be required, but promising candidates will be well supported by our team in these applications

Who to contact: