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Biological SciencesPostgraduate study

Miss Charlotte Cordery BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science

Postgraduate Researcher in Structural Biology with Microbiology

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I am a postgraduate researcher in Structural Biology with a Microbiological theme working jointly with the University of Southampton and Diamond Light Source.

I am studying the dispersal mechanism of Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms using structural biology and microbiological techniques, with the aim that the mechanism could become a new target used in the treatment of biofilm infections.

Academic qualifications:

Work history:

Research interests

For my 3rd year project I worked with Dr Ivo Tews’ lab group looking at Pdx1.3 – an important protein in the formation of vitamin B6 in plants, bacteria and other parasitic organisms. Humans lack this protein and therefore this makes an excellent protein to target for treatments of diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis. We mutated residues and purified and crystallised the protein, taking it to ESRF (a synchrotron in France) for analysis. We were successful in determining the structure of a mutant protein which will be helpful to see how the residue that was mutated interacts with each of the substrates and products of the reaction.

My research now – I am studying for my PhD which involves similar aspects. I will be first focusing on BdlA (named after the gene product bdlA: Biofilm Dispersal Locus A) – a protein in bacteria which is responsible for sensing and transducing signals that cause the dispersal of biofilms. I will mutate this protein in several ways and try to work out the structure of the domains to understand it more fully. This will be followed by work with DipA which is associated with BdlA and is thought to help the process of dispersal. The whole aim of this project is to do with bacterial biofilms, which are becoming an ever-more threatening form of infection. Bacterial infections which turn into biofilm infections are much harder to treat as the bacteria change their phenotype and become almost dormant but still pathogenic, they are impermeable by antibiotics and infections are often reoccurring. Biofilm bacteria are more resistant to antibiotics by up to 1000x compared to bacteria not in biofilm form. This is why it is very interesting for us to study a way to treat these ever-increasing forms of infection.

PhD supervision:

PhD title: Combating Antibiotic Tolerance in Bacterial Biofilms – the BdlA/DipA Dispersal Pathway.

Supervisors: Dr Ivo Tews (University of Southampton), Dr Martin Walsh (Diamond Light Source), Professor Jeremy Webb (University of Southampton), Dr Jonathan West (University of Southampton).

Funders: School of Biological Sciences and Diamond Light Source

Research Project:

Combating Antibiotic Tolerance in Bacterial Biofilms - the BdlA/DipA Dispersal Pathway’


Research group

Molecular and Cellular Biosciences

Affiliate research group

Diamond Light Source

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Laboratory Research Project BIOL3034 demonstrating/supervising

Miss Charlotte Cordery
School of Biological Sciences
Faculty of Environmental and Life Sciences
Life Sciences Building 85
University of Southampton
Highfield Campus
SO17 1BJ
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