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A postgraduate research opportunity at the University of Otago.


Close date
Saturday, 25 February 2023
Academic background
Sciences, Health Sciences
Host campus
Pathology and Biomedical Science (Christchurch)
Dr Amy Scott-Thomas, Professor Steve Chambers, Associate Professor Tony Walls


Kingella kingae and Staphylococcus aureus are bacteria that commonly cause bone and joint infections in young children. Detecting these infections early is important for correct antibiotic treatment but getting samples from children's bones is very challenging. This makes early diagnosis of K. kingae and S. aureus difficult. As such, there is a need for the development of a sensitive and specific diagnostic technique that is non-invasive for children.

When bacteria grow in the human body they release fragments of their DNA which can be found in the blood and urine of the patient. Concentrating the bacterial DNA fragments using special magnetic beads and analysing them with quantitative PCR will improve the diagnosis of K. kingae and S. aureus infections in children.

This project will aim to develop a cell free DNA diagnostic technique for the detection of K. kingae and S. aureus infections.

Preferred student expertise

This project would suit a student with a background in microbiology and PCR techniques. An enthusiastic, meticulous person that works well in a team and excels at trouble shooting is essential.

Further information

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 BBiomedSc(Hons) website

Professor Mark Hampton's profile

The Infection Group website

Department of Pathology and Biomedical Science website


Amy Scott-Thomas
Tel 03 364 0585

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