Congratulations to all the pre-registration pharmacists that passed your exam this year!
Hopefully I can follow suit….
Butterfly eggs on a raspberry plant
A micro-crack in steel
Needle and thread
E.coli bacteria on lettuce
Beard hairs under a scanning electron microscope: cut with razor (left) and electric shaver (right)
A moth wing
Leaf of a Virginia spiderwort
Not more C.perfringens!
Take these plates as a lesson to you for not leaving bacteria with incredibly fast doubling times in the anaerobic chamber over the weekend. Although these look similar to the other images, you can clearly see the massive overgrowth around the areas I’ve streaked out.
Well anyways, I digress. So my exploration of these bacteria is getting more in depth. Right now I’m currently trying to isolate the phages of these little things and hopefully I am able to do that as it will be really cool to start discovering some of the ecology of these guys.
I’ll hopefully try and post some more interesting photos as soon as possible - but if any of you have any questions about science research or bacteria feel free to ask!
First of all I hope you guys are all having a great summer! (ice cream netflix endless sleep etc…) Both me and Sam are on placements at the moment so we’re quite busy, but hopefully we can squeeze more posts through near the end of July/August.
Also we’re both turning 20 by then so that’s great :P
Glad you like them! Hopefully both me and Jie will be posting a lot more over the next few weeks, but I’ve been quite busy over the past few months so haven’t had much time to post much.
So the bacteria that I am currently working with is called C.perfringens and is a common soil bacteria that is also found in association with mammals as a commensal and sometimes as a pathogen. There are five serotypes (A-E), each associated with a set of different diseases and target organism which is either a mammal or poultry. C.perfringens is capable of producing up to 16 different toxins, although these are rarely expressed all at once. It is a saprophyte, so decays dead matter - hence most of its toxins are hydrolytic enzymes. The most common diseases caused by C.perfringens is food poisoning and necrotic enteritis (chickens).
It is also the fastest growing bacteria, with a doubling time of 10 minutes (E.coli’s doubling time is 20 minutes). It is an obligate anaerobe which makes it tricky to grow. I have to essentially streak it out onto TSC agar and then add a second layer of agar on top of that to create a highly anaerobic microenvironment. I also need to leave these microbes in an anaerobic chamber over night to completely remove any possible source of oxygen from their surroundings.
The final thing I want to mention is the TSC media I use to grow them. This media contains a source of sulphite which C.perfringens is able to reduce which is what causes the bacteria to show up black on these plates. They are one of the few Clostridia that can reduce sulphite, so this media acts as a differential media for C.perfringens.
A summary of bacteriophages
So over the last few weeks I have joined Martha Clokies lab at Leicester university to carry out research on the bacteriophages of Clostridium perfringens. Over the next few day’s I’m going to post a few interesting pictures from experiments I have carried out over the course of the placement.
For those who aren’t aware, bacteriophages are essentially the viruses of bacteria and there are almost an endless variety of these found throughout nature. They are being heralded as a new therapy for bacterial infections as the current problem of antibiotic resistance is becoming more and more of an issue.
I am currently trying to isolate the phages for C.perfringens which is the causative agent of both food poisoning in humans and also necrotic enteritis in chickens (having massive implications on the agricultural industry).
I’m pretty excited about this placement as it’s giving me the chance to carry out my own research and input my own ideas. Hopefully by the end of the 8 weeks I’ll have something to show for it, but we’ll see.
Hey lovely followers!
Since I’ve been getting some questions and being on work placements myself in a hospital pharmacy it seem to make sense if I write a post about this mysterious looking career that you guys have questions about.
So, for someone deciding whether to go into pharmacy or not…
Of course you have direct access to community pharmacies on the highstreet, like Boots (UK) or Walgreens (USA) and their job seem to be just handing out medication and granted there is a large proportion of that. But provided you have a good supportive knowledgeable team, the pharmacists’ role is moving towards supporting and managing people’s medicines more effectively, this includes regular reviews for people on more than 5 medicines (Medicine use review), or when someone starts on a new long term medication (i.e. statins, asthma inhalers, blood pressure tablets) or they are involved in promoting health, running smoking cessation, weight loss and sexual health clinics.
That sounds boring, you guys do anything in hospital?
Yes and because of privacies and confidentiality surrounding the general practise there is not a lot of exposure to what pharmacists can do, it is largely at the moment divided into the following umbrella categories:
The most basic inpatient pharmacy dispensary.
Ward pharmacists that have direct patient contact and are a part of the multidisciplinary team , they manage the dosing, route, choice of medications based on direct clinical results such as blood results, recent surgery or any other diagnostic test results. Some specialities can include:
ENT (eyes nose and throat)
mental health (neurology)
gastroenterology (stomach and intestines)
care of the elderly
Specialised information and advice provision:
Medicines Information (That’s where I am)
They may look very similar and they do overlap with some pharmacists being on rotation doing ward pharmacy AND the 3 listed above at the same time.
Other specialties are are less well known are perhaps:
So as you can see there is a HUGE range of careers out there with new fields being developed and commissioned for right now. Some of the up and coming ones are: obesity pharmacist, professional support pharmacist, personalised medicine.
Right, so all in all the point is this is NO WAY a dying career but it is undergoing huge changes as is the healthcare industry overall. Work is relatively flexible and not overly stressful generally but if you like a little challenge there is always room for that too. If any of those catches your eye or you’d like to know a bit more please feel free to drop an ask!