Dr Anthony Buckley

Dr Anthony Buckley

Profile

I joined the University of Leeds in 2015 as a Research Fellow in the Healthcare-associated Infections research group lead by Professor Mark Wilcox.

I obtained my PhD at the University of Birmingham in 2006 investigating the role of Salmonella Typhimurium efflux pumps in multiple antimicrobial resistant strains. Following this, my first postdoctoral appointment was at the Institute for Animal Health, where I investigated the in vivo efficacy of heterologous vaccines against Campylobacter jejuni. By using different attenuated Salmonella Typhimurium strains harbouring C. jejuni proteins, I was able to show effective broiler vaccination to reduce the C. jejuni colonisation and determine the optimum window for vaccine delivery.

Since 2010, I have been working on the hospital-acquired bacterium Clostridium difficile whilst employed at the University of Glasgow and in my current position, I use molecular techniques alongside in vitro and in vivo models to probe the mechanisms of C. difficile pathogenicity and the interactions with the other gut microflora.

Responsibilities

  • Project lead
  • Laboratory supervisor
  • Student supervisor

Research interests

Clostridium difficile is the leading cause of antibiotic associated diarrhoea in the nosocomial setting. The incidence of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) is unacceptably high in developed countries, causing significant patient burden and financial costs to healthcare settings, and 20-30% of cases can recur after primary antibiotic treatment. Understanding how C. difficile can cause recurrent infection is one of my research aims. Specifically, I am looking at the role of intestinal biofilms that harbour and protect C. difficile during treatment therapy. Biofilms are aggregates of microbial cells that are encased in an extracellular matrix, which often preserves the microbial cells encased within, including C. difficile cells. By identifying those microbes found within these biofilms and using molecular approaches, I am exploring the microbe-microbe interactions that enable biofilm-associated C. difficile to cause recurrent infection.

The resident intestinal microbes play a crucial role in preventing pathogen outgrowth, including C. difficile and multidrug resident bacteria. Antibiotic therapies used to treat CDI can further reduce the intestinal microbial diversity, further diminishing the protective role of these microorganisms. Bacteriotherapy's, such as faecal material transplants, have been used to successfully treat recurrent CDI, but the precise mechanisms behind this success are unclear. In collaboration with industrial partners, I am investigating the protective efficacy of different microbial therapies and unravelling the mechanisms behind these successful therapies. Our in vitro chemostat colonic gut model is very predicative of the clinical outcomes, specifically regarding C. difficile induction and treatment of antibiotics. Using this model, one can predict the efficacy of different microbial therapies and understand the mechanism of action using different complimentary techniques, such as next generation sequencing, biochemical analysis and metabolite detection.

Qualifications

  • PhD Molecular Microbiology
  • MSc Immunology & Infection
  • BSc Medical Biochemistry

Professional memberships

  • Society for Applied Microbiology
  • Microbiology Society

Student education

I am the secondary supervisor to a PhD student currently in her third year of studies. Her research centres on the role of biofilms in recurrent Clostridium difficile infection and the interactions of the sessile populations with C. difficile.

I presently lecture on Medical Bacteriology module.

Research groups and institutes

  • Leeds Institute of Medical Research at St James's
  • Healthcare Associated Infection Research Group
<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://production2.leeds.ac.uk/phd">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>