|Institution||Queen's University, Belfast|
Name pronunciation: m-ay
School: School of Biological Sciences
Project: Is nibbled, riddled and rotten good for health? Biodiverse stimulation of antiparasitic chemical production by plants and fungi
Supervisors: Eric Morgan & Stephen Cochrane
Undergraduate Education: BSc Genetics and Biochemistry, Aberystwyth University
Postgraduate Education: MRes Parasite Control, Aberystwyth University
Research: Disease caused by intestinal parasites is one of the biggest issues currently facing agricultural food industry with climate change increasing the spatial distribution of parasites. Control options are limited widespread resistance to chemotherapies and a significant lack of commercial vaccines available new control methods are desperately needed to solve this issue.
Plant Specialised Metabolites have been studied as a potential solution for this issue, with their inherent anthelmintic properties and the alluring promise of integrating agricultural forage into sustainable farming as either a supplement or natural treatment to assist in parasite management and general livestock health. However, issues stem from the level of expression which if too high could have adverse effects on animal health, therefore a balance of these molecules must be obtained which is difficult if you know nothing about the biotic interactions that govern their regulation. Bringing in a chemical perspective on these molecules would allow for a deeper understanding of their expression under different environmental stimuli (i.e whether the plant is naturally fed upon by herbivores vs grown in a protected environment, geographical location of where the plant is grown, etc.). Using in vitro bioassays as a basis for the expression of phytochemicals important for parasite control this project aims to bring cutting-edge informatic technologies such as HPLC in order to develop functional chemical characterisations of forage extracts (including plants, trees and fungi) and thereby quantify the relevance of their bioactivity within a biotic environment.
With this in mind the goals of this research would be to…
- Perform deterministic in vitro bioassays on yet as unknown profiles of phytochemicals and quantify their anthelmintic efficacy and nutraceutical benefits.
- Using mass spectrometry create chemical portfolios for comparisons of their benefits.
- Evaluate and compare these profiles with the aim of developing novel strategies of integrating these benefits into future farming.
- Twitter: @MaeCarp200196
- Relevant paper: Hoste et al. 2015. Tannin containing legumes as a model for nutraceuticals against digestive parasites in livestock. Veterinary Parasitology 212, 5-17.
- Relevant paper: Cochrane et al. 2020. From plant to probe: semi-synthesis of labelled undecaprenol analogues allows rapid access to probes for antibiotic targets. Chemical Communications 56, 8603.
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