Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

The role of circulating bacteria in cardiovascular disease

A postgraduate research opportunity at the University of Otago.


Close date
Sunday, 27 February 2022
Academic background
Sciences, Health Sciences
Host campus
Surgery (Christchurch), Medicine (Christchurch), Pathology and Biomedical Science (Christchurch)
Dr Rachel Purcell, Dr Sarah Appleby, Associate Professor John Pearson, Professor Chris Pemberton


Recent evidence has shown that following myocardial infarction there is an increase in bacterial translocation “leaky gut” into the systemic circulation, which initiates inflammation and consequently predisposes patients to cardiovascular events. This opens up the door to explore a novel set of biomarkers derived from the blood microbiome as risk assessment tools for cardiovascular disease (CVD).

This project will explore whether gut bacteria in the circulation of patients with CVD contributes to cardiovascular outcomes. We will use cutting-edge molecular biology techniques to 1) classify the blood bacterial profile of patients with CVD and compare this to patients free of pre-existing CVD, and 2) identify blood microbiome-based biomarkers to more accurately identify patients at increased risk of CVD events.

Further information

This is one of a number of projects on offer for the 2022 intake of BBiomedSc(Hons) at the University of Otago, Christchurch campus.

UOC BBiomedSc(Hons) website

Dr Rachel Purcell's profile

Department of Surgery website


Dr Rachel Purcell