Dissemination of antibiotic resistance genes in commensal Escherichia coli


This project will examine the Escherichia coli present in the gut of healthy adults who have not been recently exposed to antibiotics to determine the prevalence of antibiotic resistant bacteria and which resistance genes and plasmids are present.


Professor Ruth Hall

Research Location

School of Life and Environmental Sciences

Program Type



A number of studies indicate that antibiotic resistance may have become endemic in some bacteria that are normally associated with healthy humans and animals and this can increase the likelihood that bacteria causing infectious diseases will likewise become resistant and hence more difficult to treat.  However, there is very little information on the situation in Australia. In this project, the prevalence of antibiotic resistant and multiply antibiotic resistant E. coli in the gut of healthy humans will be examined.  The different types of resistant bacteria present in individuals and the variety seen in the population as a whole will be examined using a variety of microbiological and molecular techniques that identify individual resistance genes as well a clusters of two or more resistance genes.  The ability of the resistance genes to spread into new bacterial hosts will also be examined.  The information gained will serve both to inform us about the Australian situation and will also serve as standards for comparison with bacteria and resistance genes isolated from other sources such as animals, food (both meat and vegetables) and the environment.

Additional Information

HDR Inherent Requirements

In addition to the academic requirements set out in the Science Postgraduate Handbook, you may be required to satisfy a number of inherent requirements to complete this degree. Example of inherent requirement may include:

- Confidential disclosure and registration of a disability that may hinder your performance in your degree;
- Confidential disclosure of a pre-existing or current medical condition that may hinder your performance in your degree (e.g. heart disease, pace-maker, significant immune suppression, diabetes, vertigo, etc.);
- Ability to perform independently and/or with minimal supervision;
- Ability to undertake certain physical tasks (e.g. heavy lifting);
- Ability to undertake observatory, sensory and communication tasks;
- Ability to spend time at remote sites (e.g. One Tree Island, Narrabri and Camden);
- Ability to work in confined spaces or at heights;
- Ability to operate heavy machinery (e.g. farming equipment);
- Hold or acquire an Australian driver’s licence;
- Hold a current scuba diving license;
- Hold a current Working with Children Check;
- Meet initial and ongoing immunisation requirements (e.g. Q-Fever, Vaccinia virus, Hepatitis, etc.)

You must consult with your nominated supervisor regarding any identified inherent requirements before completing your application.

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Antibiotic resistance, Infectious diseases, microbiology, molecular biology, microbial genetics, Cell biology, Genes in biology & medicine, Infection & immunity

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is: 113