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Master of Science - Molecular Microbiology

The Master of Science (M.Sc.) in Molecular Microbiology is a full-time research-based postgraduate course. Students undertake a year-long research project under the guidance of an internationally-recognised researcher in the Department of Microbiology at Trinity College Dublin.

About Microbiology

The goal of this course is to prepare graduates for a future career in academic or industrial research. Graduates will obtain advanced technical skills, gain a working knowledge in experimental design research planning and data analysis, and acquire experience in communication, presentation and report writing.

Who is eligible to apply?

Graduates who hold, or expect to obtain, a Bachelor’s degree in the Life Sciences, 2.1 or equivalent, are eligible to apply. Previous laboratory experience is desirable.

Students;

  • Engage in full-time research in Microbiology
  • Discuss their research regularly with their supervisor
  • Contribute reports and presentations
  • Participate in research seminars and symposia
  • Complete specialist modules on ‘Infection Biology’ and ‘Research Integrity and Impact’.
  • Prepare a dissertation

What projects are available for 2020-21?

Research projects in Molecular Microbiology are offered on the following topics with a start date in September 2020.

1 . Understanding virulence in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

Supervisor: Dr Joan Geoghegan Email: geoghegj@tcd.ie

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a major cause of human infection worldwide and is responsible for serious skin and soft tissue infections, sepsis and endocarditis. An understanding of the factors that influence the virulence potential of Staphylococcus aureusis necessary to explain how new clones of MRSA successfully colonise and infect humans. This research will use a range of molecular microbiology and cell biology techniques to better understand S. aureus biology and pathogenesis.

Please see the Geoghegan research group website for further details: ( https://www.tcd.ie/Microbiology/research/joan-geoghegan/)

2. Investigating chromatin-mediated regulation of gene transcription using Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a model organism. Supervisor:

Dr Alastair Fleming Email: alastair.fleming@tcd.ie

In eukaryotic cells, DNA is tightly associated with histone proteins in a structure known as ‘ chromatin '. This structure is considered repressive to processes such as DNA damage repair, recombination, replication and transcription. This research will investigate how this chromatin barrier can be overcome, or ‘remodelled’, by mechanisms including; (i) sliding or removing histone proteins via so-called chromatin remodelling machines such as the Swi-Snf complex, or (ii) via the post-translational modification of the histones. Understanding these mechanisms in yeast will help delineate the role of these evolutionary conserved processes in human cells, where defective chromatin remodelling has been associated with diseases such as cancer.

Please see the Fleming research group website for further details: ( https://www.tcd.ie/Microbiology/research/alastair-fleming/)

3. Investigating the role of genetic regulation of antibiotic resistance in the WHO priority pathogen Acinetobacter baumannii

Supervisor: Dr Carsten Kröger Email: carsten.kroeger@tcd.ie

Over the last decades, the number of infections with multi-drug resistant bacteria has dramatically increased, while the development of new antibiotics has mostly stalled. New ways to prevent, treat and cure bacterial infections are needed to solve the antibiotic crisis. Therefore, understanding the biology and mechanisms that govern antimicrobial resistance in bacteria is paramount to develop new knowledge-based intervention strategies. This project will investigate the fundamental mechanisms underlying antimicrobial resistance in A. baumannii and uncover the genetic switches that are crucial for activation and repression of antimicrobial resistance phenotypes.

Please see the Kröger research group website for further details: ( https://www.tcd.ie/Microbiology/research/carsten-kroger/)

4. Understanding resistance to biocides and antibiotics in clinical isolates of Klebsiella pneumoniae - how to treat an ESKAPE pathogen

Supervisor: Dr. Marta Martins Email: mmartins@tcd.ie

Klebsiella pneumoniae is responsible for a wide range of infections that include bacteremia, pneumonia, etc. K. pneumoniae has become increasingly resistant to antibiotics due to the production of extended-spectrum β-lactamases (ESBL) with devastating outcomes. Contributing to the difficulty in treating infections caused by this pathogen is its ability to form biofilms on medical devices and to develop resistance to biocides. However, there is still a lack of understanding of the mechanisms responsible for the development of this type of resistance. This research will investigate the development of resistance to biocides and possible cross-resistance to antibiotics in clinical isolates of K. pneumoniae with the aim to uncover new therapeutic synergies to treat these infections.

Please see the Martins research group website for further details: ( https://www.tcd.ie/Microbiology/research/marta-martins/ )

What is the fee?

Information about postgraduate fees for EU and non-EU student applicants to the M.Sc. in Science (F/T) can be found at https://www.tcd.ie/study/postgraduate/fee-finances/

How do I apply?

In the first instance send an email to the project supervisor named above with a copy of your CV. Short-listed candidates will be invited to the next stage of the application process.