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The University of Southampton

Dr Magdalena Kamila Bielecka MSc, PhD

Research Fellow

Dr Magdalena Kamila Bielecka's photo

Dr Magdalena K. Bielecka is a Research Fellow at the University of Southampton within the Faculty of Medicine.

Antimicrobial resistance presents one of the most significant threats to human health. Using the 3-dimensional bioelectrospray model we investigate novel approaches to TB pandemic.

Magdalena Bielecka trained in microbiology and biotechnology at the University of Warsaw, Poland, where she completed her undergraduate studies. She undertook postgraduate training at the University of Central Lancashire, UK, and was awarded an MSc in 2002. Between 2003-2005, she worked for a pharmaceutical company in Poland. In 2005 she was offered a PhD position at the University of Bristol, UK, to work on the molecular mechanisms of Listeria monocytogenes pathogenesis. In 2007, her group moved to the University of Edinburgh, UK, where she finished her PhD studies. In 2011, she moved to Southampton and undertook a Research Fellow position to work with Professor Myron Christodoulides at the University of Southampton on Neisseria meningitidis serogroup B vaccine development.

In 2013, she joined Professor Paul Elkington’s lab and contributed to developing a novel 3-dimensional model system for Mycobacterium tuberculosis by using the bioelectrospraying technique, which generates microspheres incorporating virulent reporter bacilli, primary human cells and extracellular matrix. She investigated the effect of antibiotics on Mtb killing. She showed that first-line drugs used in tuberculosis treatment are effective against drug-sensitive mycobacteria in 3-D system, including pyrazinamide having a bactericidal effect not observed in 2-D culture, demonstrating that antibiotic sensitivity within microspheres reflects conditions in patients. Furthermore, she developed a 3-D cell culture platform integrated with microfluidics for testing the efficacy of anti-TB drugs.

She currently applies the 3-D model to investigate multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) in the context of the host. She studies the effect of diverse antibiotics on mycobacterial proliferation and host cell survival. This permits study of antimicrobial resistance in a 3-D model versus genotypic and standard resistance analysis. Ultimately, the 3-D bioelectrospray system proves to be a useful tool in identifying candidate compounds to go forward to experimentation in appropriate animal models and clinical trials to treat MDR-TB.



PhD, Molecular Microbiology, University of Edinburgh, UK (2011)

MSc, Environmental Microbiology, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK (2002)


Appointments held:

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, TB Research Group, Faculty of Medicine (Clinical and Experimental Sciences), University of Southampton, UK (2013-present)

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Neisseria Research Group, Faculty of Medicine (Clinical and Experimental Sciences), University of Southampton, UK (2011-2013)

Scientific Representative/Product Manager, Nobipharm Spolka z o.o., Pharmaceutical Company, Warsaw, Poland (2003-2005)

Research interests

My main research interests focus on host-pathogen interactions. I have extensive research experience in bacterial pathogens, both Gram-negative (Neisseria meningitidis) and Gram-positive (Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Listeria spp.). I am particularly keen on understanding the mechanisms of bacterial virulence and host cell responses with a view of using this knowledge to find better cures for bacterial diseases. My work involves developing a novel 3-D model system for M. tuberculosis (Mtb) by using the bioelectrospraying technique, which incorporates extracellular matrix (ECM), Mtb and different human cells to form an in vitro granuloma model system.

Using this approach, we study the factors that control the secretion of cytokines and metalloproteinases (MMPs) as well as the role of ECM in regulating the host-pathogen interaction. We also investigate the effect of antibiotics on Mtb killing using the 3-D model system in comparison to standard 2-dimensional cell culture with a particular focus on pyrazinamide (PZA). I currently carry out research into the efficacy of first- and second-line antibiotics used in tuberculosis treatment against drug-sensitive clinical isolates and multi-drug resistant mycobacterial strains (MDR-TB) in our 3-D culture model. This study enables investigation of antimicrobial resistance in the 3-D system versus genotypic and standard resistance analysis.

My previous work on Neisseria allowed me to gain an understanding of how fundamental knowledge in bacterial systems can be applied in vaccine development.

Research group

Clinical and Experimental Sciences

Postgraduate student supervision

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Dr Magdalena Kamila Bielecka
Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton, Building 85, Life Sciences Building, Highfield Campus, Southampton, SO171BJ

Room Number: SGH/LE57/MP813

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