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Activity: Takes place with a fixed time and schedule
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2nd May
to 8th June
300 You will earn 300 bronze points for completing this activity.
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Stopping the Doomsday Fungus: using antimicrobial zeolites to control Chytrid

2nd May to 8th June
Silver zeolites are effective antimicrobials against a variety of microorganisms. However, their efficacy against the frog-killing fungal pathogen Chytrid is unknown. Gain key skills in microbiology, experimental design and data analysis as you investigate whether zeolites can be employed as tools in the fight against this threat to biodiversity.

Host Researcher: Dr James Redfern

As the causative agent of the disease Chytridiomycosis (Chytrid), the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis poses a severe threat to global biodiversity. Through invasion and destruction of the skin and often resulting in death, chytrid is responsible for the decline of over 500 amphibian species and poses a major risk to both wild and ex-situ frog populations.

Zeolites are porous minerals that can be loaded with metals. Silver zeolites can be derived naturally or from synthetic sources, with previous studies showing their efficacy as antimicrobials against a variety of microorganisms. Through a collaboration with material scientists, we hope to discover that zeolites can be used a novel tool in combatting chytrid.

This project will work alongside Post-Doctoral Researcher Dr Greg Bulmer to investigate whether silver zeolites can kill (or decrease the growth rate of) B. dendrobatidis. The student will culture B. dendrobatidis and carry out tests using a variety of silver zeolites under different conditions. Fungal killing/inhibition will then be assessed through a variety of techniques, which may include approaches such as, molecular biology, microscopy and physical/chemical characterisation techniques.  

We anticipate this project will run for a number of weeks across the summer. Please ensure availability is described in EoI.

In A Nutshell...

  • Collaborate... with researchers across the university
  • Develop... methodologies across a variety of techniques
  • Analyse... experimental data and draw conclusions
  • Contribute... to the understanding of this pathogen
  • Earn up to 300 Rise points ... which can be recognised within your degree.


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