AE01: Controlling Antibiotic Resistance: Exploiting the Competence Pathway

Supervisory Team

Dr Rebecca Butler and Dr Ayesha Sabah Rahman, School of Pharmacy

Project Description

Streptococcus pneumoniae are able to spread resistance to antibiotics via a process known as competence. The bacteria secrete a peptide called CSP1 (Competence Stimulating Peptide 1) until a threshold concentration is reached. This initiates a biochemical cascade ultimately leading to the release and uptake of genes (some of which may be responsible for resistance) within the population. CSP1 is also known to promote biofilm formation adding to the challenges of treating competent populations. This project seeks to investigate competitive antagonists of CSP1 to determine whether these can break down biofilms and/or interfere in the transfer of genetic material within the competent group, potentially leading to an increase in the efficacy and life-time of current antimicrobial reagents.

The successful candidate will be trained in a range of advanced techniques used in this study and develop skills in biochemistry, molecular biology and microbiology. Laboratory work and characterization will be undertaken within the University of Wolverhampton’s new Science Centre, the Rosalind Franklin building, which houses a broad range of state-of-the-art research facilities suitable for undertaking this multidisciplinary project.


We welcome applications at any time from self-funded students that are well qualified and highly motivated. Applicants should have a recognized Honours or Masters degree with a 2.1 or equivalent in biochemistry, genetics or microbiology (or a related field).

Applicants whose entry award was not delivered in English, or non-native speaker of English shall be required to demonstrate proficiency in English at least to the level of an IELTS score of 7.0 or its equivalent.

How to apply

Complete the Research Project Application Form (Word doc 679k) and email to

See Guidance for the Completion of the Research Project Application Form (Word doc 23k) for details.

For more information

For an informal discussion please contact via direct email to Dr Rebecca Butler  or Dr Ayesha Rahman