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Opportunity at Davies Teaching Fellowships (ARL/USMA)

Acinetobacter baumannii as a Model for Burkholderia pseudomallei in Development of Antibody Therapeutics

Location

US Military Academy-FFP, Photonics Research Associateship-FFP

RO# Location
AA.33.01.C0161 West Point, NY 10996

Advisers

Name E-mail Phone
Barnhill, Jason jason.barnhill@westpoint.edu 808-352-3186

Description

 Acinetobacter baumannii is a common gram (-) bacterium with strikingly similar outer membrane features to those of Burkholderia pseudomallei, the causative agent of melioidosis. B. pseudomallei, also gram (-), is notoriously resistant to most classes of antibiotics and the current antibiotic treatment options for melioidosis are greatly limited. In many cases, melioidosis treatment requires several months of antibiotics to combat persister populations and to protect against disease recrudescence. Although B. pseudomallei is relatively widespread in southeast Asia and Australia, it is impractical to study the organism in North American environments. A. baumannii, therefore, can serve as a practical surrogate for basic insights into potential therapeutic options for melioidosis. Namely, in the absence of effective antibiotic treatments and with the ongoing difficulty in developing and bringing new antibiotics to market, A. baumannii may function as the ideal surrogate for development antibody based therapeutics against B. pseudomallei. Over the course of the last decade, a growing body of evidence has clearly demonstrated the use of antibody-based therapeutics as a viable medical countermeasure against infectious agents. Currently, a platform to identify therapeutic antibodies from convalescent patient blood and serum has been designed and proven effective for the treatment of Ebola virus infection (Wec and Herbert 2017). The Hypothesis for this work is that therapeutic antibodies to treat A. baumannii infection can be successfully identified and isolated from B-cell populations in convalescent blood collected from service members with a history of prior A. baumannii infection. A significant additional benefit of this work will be potential therapeutics against A. baumannii which has caused significant morbidity and mortality from combat wound infections as well as nosocomial infection. The prospective researcher should have experience with PCR, genome sequencing, sequence analysis, bacterial culture, viral culture, cell culture, molecular pathogenesis, data collection and analysis, and report writing. The post-doc will train, mentor, and work closely with West Point cadets.

Keywords:
Acinetobacter baumannii; Burkholderia pseudomallei; Therapeutic antibodies

Eligibility

Citizenship:  Open to U.S. citizens
Level:  Open to Postdoctoral applicants
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