Impact of the chicken gut microbiota on Salmonella colonisation of the chicken caecum
Jennifer started in the Pathways Theme PhD Studentship 'Reducing the impact of infectious intestinal disease' in October 2016, with supervisors Paul Hunter, John Wain and Gemma Langridge of the University of East Anglia. Jennifer is a Biological Sciences graduate from the University of Birmingham with experience in microbiology and reproductive biology.
Outside of work she enjoys reading, walking and baking.
Salmonella enterica is responsible for over 90 million cases of gastroenteritis worldwide each year. Salmonella Infantis (S. Infantis) is the third most common cause of Salmonella infection in humans in England and Wales, and typically occurs through consumption of contaminated chicken products. We have assembled a global collection of S. Infantis isolates and are investigating how their genetics vary by geographical location and the host they were isolated from (i.e. chickens or humans). This information will be useful to public health teams during outbreak investigations.
As S. Infantis is the most common Salmonella found in European domestic fowl, we are focusing on the genetic differences between isolates that have caused human infection and chicken infection. We will determine what nutrients S. Infantis needs to survive in chickens and determine which genes are associated with this. We will also use a model chicken gut to see if the resident bacteria in the chicken gut produce any of the nutrients essential for the growth of S. Infantis. This may identify changes that could be made to the chicken diet which would prevent S. Infantis surviving in the chicken gut.
S. Infantis usually causes gastrointestinal infection but sometimes causes a more serious invasive infection that requires antibiotic treatment. Resistance to antibiotics is frequently seen in S. Infantis, so we are investigating how the levels and types of resistance differ in our collection. This could guide clinicians in the selection of antibiotics for treating severe infection.
- Paul Hunter – NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Gastrointestinal Infections, University of East Anglia
- John Wain – Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia
- Gemma Langridge – Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia
- Roberto La Ragione - School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Surrey
- Marie Chattaway - Gastrointestinal Bacteria Reference Unit, Public Health England