Mahjabeen Khan

PhD Candidate

PhD Candidate

Research Title: Comparison of resistance genes of Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolated from contact lens and non-contact lens related microbial keratitis 

Supervisors: Scientia Professor Fiona Stapleton, Professor Mark Willcox, Professor Scott Rice 





Pseudomonas aeruginosa is the most commonly isolated bacterium from microbial keratitis among contact lens wearers, accounting for 60–70% of culture-proven cases. Ciprofloxacin is used as a monotherapy to treat keratitis but the emerging resistance of P. aeruginosa to this and other antibiotics has an impact on the outcomes of the disease. P. aeruginosa possesses various inherent and acquired resistance mechanisms to different antimicrobials. Susceptibility of P.aeruginosa can be investigated phenotypically using susceptibility testing by broth microdilution to find minimum inhibitory and minimum bactericidal concentrations. The genes that encode resistance can be investigated through sequencing the whole genome and subsequent bioinformatics analyses.     

This study so far has found that strains isolated from non-contact lens-related keratitis are more resistant to antibiotics and that these strains contain more genes associated with antibiotic resistance. However, contact lens-related isolates had higher MIC to multipurpose disinfecting solutions. Some novel resistance genes (including crpP, qnrVC1, blaVIM, blaTEM) which have not been previously reported in ocular isolates of P.aeruginosa have been found in this study. The strains isolated from ocular isolates had similar sequence types indicating that they may be clonally related. My research will also examine whether strains can become tolerant to disinfectants or antibiotics, and whether this, as well as resistance, is related to clinical outcomes of infection. 



Mahjabeen Khan completed her M. Microbiology in 2013 from Hazara University, Pakistan. After which, she took up a role as a Research Officer at K&N’s Diagnostic and Research Institute where she explored the world of microorganisms. In 2017 she commenced her postgraduate studies under the guidance of Scientia Professor Fiona Stapleton and Professor Mark Willcox at UNSW. Her research project involves looking at keratitis caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa in contact lens and non-contact lens wearers. In this study Mahjabeen has been working on the genomics of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and thus far has explored some novel and interesting facts about the resistance, virulence and clonal relation of this bacteria by investigating the molecular mechanism aspect behind.  



2013  M. Phil Microbiology, Hazara University, Pakistan



Tuition Fee Scholarship, UNSW Sydney, Australia 



Australian Society of Microbiology, Sydney, 2017 

Triple I for Microbiology, Sydney, 2017 

Mobile Genetic elements Melbourne, 2018 

Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, Canada 2019 



Australian Society of Microbiology 

Cornea and Contact Lens 

American Society of Microbiology 

Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology