Janice Spencer

Department of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Janice received her PhD from the Open University while working as a clinical scientist at the Central Public Health Laboratory, Colindale, London (now part of Public Health England) investigating the pathogenicity of enteroaggregative E. coli (EAEC). She held various post-doctoral positions at the University of Glasgow Veterinary School, University of Strathclyde and most recently the University of Glasgow in the laboratory of Gillian Douce. She has also worked as research scientist for Oxoid and the spin-out company Blaze Venture Technologies.
Her main area of research investigates the understanding of host/pathogen interactions with the ultimate goal of identifying targets for prophylactic or therapeutic treatment of disease. This includes the potential use of recombinant toxin fragments as vaccine candidates to prevent C. difficile infection. C. difficile can be carried asymptomatically but outgrowth and subsequent symptomatic infection can occur after disruption of the microbiome, typically after treatment with antibiotics. Investigations are ongoing to elucidate the changes in the microbiome post antibiotic use and if infection with this organism can be prevented by reinstating identified bacterial diversity after antibiotic treatment.
She also has a keen interest in the prevention and treatment of bacterial infections including methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and C. difficile with bacteriophage. Applications using immobilised bacteriophages on polymers as a delivery system to treat and prevent these infections are being investigated in collaboration with FixedPhage, (University of Strathclyde). This bacteriophage treatment could also be used to combat other areas where bacteria are causing problems including food spoilage, agriculture, horticulture and animal health.