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A postgraduate research opportunity at the University of Otago.


Close date
Saturday, 25 February 2023
Academic background
Health Sciences
Host campus
Pathology and Biomedical Science (Christchurch)
Dr Nina Dickerhof, Dr Christoph Goebl


Streptococcus pneumoniae is a respiratory tract pathogen that causes millions of deaths worldwide each year. The pneumococcal vaccine offers limited protection and the rise of antimicrobial resistance will make treatment increasingly challenging. This emphasises the need for new anti-pneumococcal strategies. One possibility is to target the bacterium's antioxidant defences to render them more susceptible to oxidants produced by the immune system.

In this project, the student will use an array of microbiological, biochemical and biophysical approaches to characterise various antioxidant defence systems in S. pneumoniae including the following:

  • Protein purification using chromatography
  • Protein characterisation using SDS/PAGE and mass spectrometry
  • Differential scanning fluorimetry and NMR to study protein-ligand interactions
  • Microbial growth curves to assess the sensitivity of S. pneumoniae mutants to relevant oxidants

This project will provide insights into how to combat this deadly pathogen.

Preferred student expertise:

Students with enthusiasm for biomedical research from various backgrounds, preferably microbiology, biochemistry or chemistry, will be considered.

This is one of a number of projects on offer for the 2023 intake of BBiomedSc(Hons) at the University of Otago, Christchurch campus.

UOC Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences with Honours
Dr Nina Dickerhof's profile
Dr Christoph Goebl's profile
Centre for Free Radical Research website
Department of Pathology and Biomedical Science website


Nina Dickerhof
Tel +64 3 378 6223

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