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Cardiff School of Biosciences PhD Studentship: Use of luminescent Pseudomonas aeruginosa biosensors to identify resistance pathways, predict microbial behaviour, and develop mechanistic models of preservative action

Reference Number: R1017
Closing Date: Closed for applications
Duration: 4 years
Funding Amount: Fees and Stipend
Level of Study: Postgraduate Research
Regions: EU (Non UK), UK
This funding opportunity is now closed for application

Key Studentship Information

Project Title: Use of luminescent Pseudomonas aeruginosa biosensors to identify resistance pathways, predict microbial behaviour, and develop mechanistic models of preservative action

Project Description:

Cardiff School of Biosciences and Unilever, Colworth, Safety and Environment Assurance Centre (SEAC), are pleased to announce the following Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) CASE funded 4 year PhD studentship available from October 2013.

The project focusses on the prevention of microbial contamination in industry. A number of bacterial and fungal species are capable of causing contamination in Home and Personal Care (HPC) products, which will have an impact on the safety or quality of the product. To kill microorganisms and prevent their growth in industrial products, a range of control strategies including preservatives, biocides and detergents are used, depending on the nature of formulation, its use, and the types of organisms being targeted as a potential cause of contamination.

This PhD will use the Gram negative bacterium, Pseudomonas aeruginosa as model organism to study preservative action and resistance. The student will develop predictive bioluminescent P. aeruginosa biosensors which will be used to evaluate bacterial susceptibility to antimicrobial actives and optimize of industrial preservation strategies. The luminescent biosensors will be created using the mini-transposon reporter, mini-Tn5-luxCDABE. A combination of molecular microbiology, mutant bank screening, genomics, next generation sequencing and metabolic modeling strategies will be used to identify pathways involved in preservative action and resistance. The student will also undergo extensive training in bioinformatics metabolic modelling, statistics, and personal development/business development skills available through the University Graduate Collegeas part of the project. In addition, a residential training placement (up to 3 months) in metabolic modeling has been arranged with collaborators at the University of Virginia, USA, for year 3 or 4 of the project.

Supervisors: The project has the following supervisory team: (i) primary supervision by Prof. Eshwar Mahenthiralingam and co-supervision by Dr. Tom Connor, Cardiff School of Biosciences, Cardiff University; (ii) CASE-sponsor supervision by Dr. Alejandro Amézquita and Dr. Yvan Le Marc, SEAC, Unilever, Research and Development, Colworth, UK. The student will be registered and based at Cardiff University, with annual placements at Unilever Colworth integral to the project.


Funding and Eligibility

The 4 year BBSRC CASE studentship is available to UK/EU nationals that meet the UK Research Council eligibility criteria. The studentship is funded at the current BBSRC stipend of £13,590 per annum supplemented by an annual stipend top up of £4000 from the CASE-sponsor.

Academic eligibility requirements: The equivalent of a undergraduate degree at level 2:1 (or higher) in a relevant biological, biomedical or bio-molecular science subject

Applicants will be required to hold an IELTS qualification with overall score of 6.5 and minimum score of 5.5 in each skill area (or equivalent qualification)


How to Apply

Applications can be submitted via Cardiff’s Online Application Service.

Please indicate in the ‘Funding’ section of the Online Application Form, that you are applying for this studentship.

Application Deadline: 11th March 2013.


Further Information

For further details on the project contact Prof. Eshwar Mahenthiralingam.



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