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Research Assistant, School Of Microbiology And Teagasc

University CollegeFermoy, Cork€27,109 - €36,422 per yearTemporary

2 Year, Fixed-Term, Whole-time Post

Position summary

Project background

Streptococcus suis is a pig pathobiont that is almost ubiquitously carried in the nasopharynx where infections lead to meningitis, polyarthritis, septicaemia, pneumonia and endocarditis. Consequently, S. suis infections are a significant international animal welfare and economic burden in the pig industry. The first line of treatment is antibiotics; however, antibiotic resistance is a major global health issue and alternative strategies are lacking. Vaccination against S. suis has a poor success rate and an effective vaccine remains unlikely. Thus, improving animal health against S. suis is a key industrial target.

While phages, and phage-derived proteins, have been applied therapeutically in the past, technical limitations remain, including spontaneous host resistance and in vivo phage delivery. As part of this international project, the Research Assistant will support S. suis bacterial and bacteriophage isolation and analysis activities and use a rational design approach to generate combinations of these phages for in vitro testing. The aim of this design approach is to ensure the combined phages to kill a wide range of infectious S. suis strains while circumventing bacterial-mediated phage resistance, a key roadblock to the use of phage therapy. The overall aim of the project is to develop innovative and effective phage therapy solutions to specifically target S. suis in pigs.

The researcher will have the opportunity to develop skills in a wide range of techniques including next generation sequencing and analysis, biochemical and biological assays, and bacterial and bacteriophage culturing and propagation. The successful candidate will also be involved in wider Teagasc and APC Microbiome Education and Public Engagement activities.

The role

We are seeking a motivated and skilled Research Assistant to support the research activities of this project. The candidate will work with the research teams of Dr John Kenny (Teagasc Food Research Centre, Moorepark, Fermoy, Co. Cork) and Prof Jennifer Mahony (UCC, College Road, Cork). The successful candidate will be principally located at Teagasc with potential training periods based at UCC.

Project Title: PhageSuas: Improved Pig Health through the Novel Application of SynBio in Phage Therapy

Post Duration: 2 years

Salary: €27,109 - €36,422 p.a. (IUA Salary Scale)

For an information package including further details of the post see Job ID: 050451.

Informal enquiries can be made in confidence to Prof Jennifer Mahony, Tel: + 353 (0) 21 4902730; Email:

The closing date for applications is Thursday the 4th of November 2021

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