Department of Livestock Infectiology and Environmental Hygiene
Head of the Department
The Department of Livestock Infectiology and Environmental Hygiene (460e),
the group of PD Dr. Wolfgang Beyer offers the following
Topics for Bachelor- and/or Master Theses
Establishment and Usage of genotyping methods for bacterial pathogens of animals and humans
Molecular typing methods are useful tools to analyze outbreaks of bacterial infectious diseases by comparing the outbreak strains involved, the temporal and regional relation of outbreaks, the identification of sources of an outbreak and the spread, distribution, and evolution of the outbreak strains. Moreover, “genotypes” of outbreak strains recorded in data bases support epidemiological conclusions on outbreaks over long periods of time. Currently, the most important genomic typing methods are Multi-Locus-Sequencetyping (MLST), Multi-Locus-VNTR-Analysis (MLVA), Single-Nucleotide-Polymorphism (SNP)-Analysis and Single-Nucleotide-Repeat (SNR)-Analysis, among others. The evaluation of experimental data is done by cluster- and minimum-spanning-tree analyses using the software package Bionumerics. Appropriate methods will be further developed or newly established, respectively, for Brucella spp., Bacillus spp., Mycobaterium spp. and Salmonella spp. During the work on the thesis theoretical and practical knowledge can be gained on the microbiology and molecular genetics of the relevant bacteria, the molecular typing methods and their computer assisted evaluation.
Transfer by bacteriophages of resistance and virulence genes between bacteria relevant in medicine and in biotechnological processes
Bacteriophages are an attractive alternative for the usage of antibiotics, especially for the treatment of infections caused by multi-resistant bacteria. Moreover, they play a very important role in any kind of biotechnological processes. For their targeted usage, however, several open questions need to be dealt with.
Bacteriophages are able to integrate into the genome of their host bacteria (lysogeny). When turning back to a lytic life style they can transfer genes of the host to a new recipient. This mechanism belongs to the well-known natural system of „horizontal gene transfer“. In case of transfer of resistance or virulence genes this mechanism is unsought.
Using present or newly isolated phages the transfer of resistance and virulence genes will be investigated in this project. During the work on the thesis theoretical and experimental knowledge can be gained on the role of bacteriophages in medicine and ecology.
Isolation and propagation of bacteriophages from Bacillus spp. and characterization of their influence on the phenotype of the bacterial host
Temperate bacteriophages of Bacillus spp. can change the phenotype of its host, e. g. its sporulation and replication abilities or its survival in biofilms. Moreover, such changes in the live cycle of the bacteria influence their distribution as a pathogen for animals and humans.
In the project bacteriophages of field strains of Bacillus spp. will be isolated, propagated and transferred onto laboratory test strains. Possible phenotypic changes of the test strains will be investigated. Further genetic studies can be added to clarify the molecular reasons for phenotypic changes. During the work on the thesis theoretical and experimental knowledge can be gained on microbiology and molecular genetics of the relevant bacteria and on the interaction of bacteriophages and their hosts.
Behaviour and fate of strains of Bacillus spp., including Bacillus anthracis which are infected with bacteriophages in environmental compartements and soil organisms.
Temperate bacteriophages of Bacillus spp. can change the phenotype of its host, e. g. its sporulation and replication abilities or its survival in biofilms. This may have dramatic consequences for their life and survival both in the environment and in host organisms.
The behaviour and fate of bacteriophage infected strains of Bacillus spp. will be investigated in soil and soil worms using microcosm-studies.
In the project theoretical and practical knowledge can be gained on microbiology, ecology and molecular genetics of the relevant bacteria, on the interaction of bacteriophages with their hosts and on the network of bacteriophages, their hosts, and the environment.
Students interested in a special topic or the research field in a whole can contact
PD Dr. Wolfgang Beyer
Fg. Infektions- und Umwelthygiene bei Nutztieren