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PhD Studentship in Biosciences/Chemical Biology (PhD Studentship)

Reference Number: R2288
Closing Date: Closed for applications
Duration: 3 years
Funding Amount: full UK/EU fees, plus Doctoral Stipend
Level of Study: Postgraduate Research
Regions: EU (Non UK), UK
This funding opportunity is now closed for application

Cardiff University School of Bioscience and School of Chemistry are looking to appoint one PhD student for this exciting project in molecular microbiology.

Project title: Development of vietnamycin: a novel Burkholderia antibiotic targeting mupirocin resistant methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)

We have discovered that Burkholderia bacteria are an untapped source of novel resistance-busting antibiotics (Mahenthiralingam et al. 2011). Vietnamycin is a novel Burkholderia antibiotic that can kill the MRSA superbug even when it has become resistant to current clinically used antibiotics such mupirocin. Hence, vietnamycin meets a major unmet need in the treatment of multidrug resistant infections. To lay the foundations for the clinical development of vietnamycin, the proposed PhD will: (i) characterize the vietnamycin biosynthetic pathway and optimize its production; (ii) determine the full activity spectrum of vietnamycin against a range of drug resistant pathogens; (iii) identify the mode of action and development of resistance to vietnamycin; and (iv) develop and validate a suite of in vitro and non-vertebrate toxicity assays determine if the antibiotic has toxicity towards animal cells and non-vertebrate in vivo models such as the wax moth, Galleria.


The student will undergo extensive training in molecular microbiology, chemical biology, bioinformatics, genomics and next generation sequencing, cell culture and in vivo models, statistics, and transferable/business development skills. In addition, they will work alongside a BBBSRC-funded (2014-2017) Burkholderia antibiotic discovery team comprising research groups at Cardiff University, Warwick University and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute.


Start date: 1 October 2014

Number of Studentships: 1


This studentship consists of full UK/EU tuition fees, as well as a Doctoral Stipend matching UK Research Council National Minimum (£13,863 p.a. for 2014/15, updated each year).

One studentship is available.


Residency: Full awards (fees plus maintenance stipend) are open to UK Nationals and EU students without further restrictions.

Academic criteria: Candidates should hold a First or Upper Second Class Honours BSc degree in Biomolecular sciences (Microbiology, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology or Biomedical Sciences) or Chemistry (with a strong interest in Chemical Biology); and/or a Masters degree with suitable background.

How to Apply

Consideration is automatic on applying for Doctor of Philosophy (Biosciences), with a start date of October 2014 via Cardiff University's Online Application Service. In the research proposal section of your application, please specify the project title and supervisors of this project and copy the project description in the text box provided. In the funding section, please select "I will be applying for a scholarship / grant" and specify the project title as given on the 'About' tab.

The deadline for applications is 4 July 2014.

Cardiff University reserves the right to close applications early should sufficient applications be received.

Further Information

For more information, please view the School of Biosciences and School of Chemistry websites.

Additional information on the transferable skills training programme offered by the University Graduate College can be found here.

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

References: Mahenthiralingam, E., L. Song, A. Sass, J. White, C. Wilmot, A. Marchbank, O. Boaisha, J. Paine, D. Knight, and G. L. Challis. 2011. Enacyloxins are products of an unusual hybrid modular polyketide synthase encoded by a cryptic Burkholderia ambifaria genomic island. Chemistry and Biology 18:665-677.


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