Space at Southampton
Dr Franklin Nobrega, Lecturer in Microbiology, contributed a chapter entitled Modulating the astronaut’s microbiome during long space missions. His expertise is centred around gastrointestinal health and the challenges astronauts face in maintaining this on long-duration missions. Currently, antibiotics are given to astronauts to tackle bacterial infections caused by a lack of microbial intake from food and air as it normally occurs on Earth. But antibiotics can damage microbiota,
predisposing astronauts to illness such as chronic diarrhoea.
Dr Nobrega proposes the use of bacteriophages, or phages – a group of viruses that infect bacteria – as an alternative to antibiotics. Phages act only on their target bacteria, leaving healthy microbiota untouched. Dr Nobrega’s ongoing research is assessing the efficacy and safety of phages as a treatment for antibiotic-resistant infections, the use of phages for the prevention and treatment of disorders associated with an imbalanced gastrointestinal microbiota, and ways to prevent the
development of phage resistance.
Outreach Festival SOBS 2023
On March 22, we invited local school students, teachers, and community groups to visit our campus to meet our scientists in person and become part of our research. We showcased our Citizen-Science sampling project - The Phage Collection Project (learn how you can participate here, or how you can bring this activity to your community), aimed at collecting environmental samples for phage research. Additionally, we launched two educational games to raise awareness about antimicrobial resistance (AMR), and the arms race between bacteria and phages. You can download our Exploding Bacteria and Build a Phage games using the links provided below. These two activities were made possible by the outstanding work of our PhD student Ruweyda Sayid and our Master's student Rachel Buchanan.