Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarships (KESS): A study of the ability of OligoG alginate nanomedicines to disrupt bacterial biofilms (PhD Studentship)
Reference Number: R686
THIS PROJECT IS NOW CLOSED FOR APPLICATIONS.
Key Studentship Information
Background to the award: KESS is a collaborative project involving nine Universities in Wales, supported by European Social Fund Convergence programme funding (2009-14). KESS supports doctoral awards at Cardiff which are jointly sponsored by employers based in Convergence areas of Wales.
The key objectives of KESS to:
Increase the research capacity of SMEs by linking with a PhD / Masters project.
Encourage SMEs to undertake research and recruit researchers.
Prepare and train individuals to contribute to research as professionals
Support the development of key technologies in the Convergence area
Promote Higher-level Skills Development
Project Title: A study of the ability of OligoG alginate nanomedicines to disrupt bacterial biofilms
Research background: In a collaboration between AlgiPharma and CU, we have been able to successfully use low molecular weight oligosaccharide (OligoG) therapies as tools to modulate bacterial biofilms and biofilm-related infections in vivo. We have proved this concept in developing OligoG CF-5/20, which has been shown to disrupt established biofilms and potentiate antibiotic activity against multi-drug resistant (MDR) bacteria and fungi in vitro at clinically-relevant concentrations (proven safe in preclinical and respiratory clinical phase 1 safety and toxicology studies, www.clinicaltrials.gov identifier: NCT00970346).
This PhD programme of research at Cardiff and Swansea will build upon existing work we have been undertaking in the Wound Biology Group and the Centre for Nanohealth and will help inform the design and delivery of future alginate-derived oligosaccharides to patients, as novel therapeutic tools to control MDR microbial biofilms in the treatment of associated human infections.
Areas to be covered in the PhD studentship: The exciting programme of translational research will offer extensive training opportunities for the successful PhD canididate. During the programme the student will develop expertise in microbiology, bio-informatic approaches to molecular (gene microarray) screening and metabolomics. In the structural characterisation of the biofilms, they additionally will develop insight and experience of rheological and atomic force microscopic characterisation of materials and biological surfaces. In addition to these skills the individual will develop important practical skills and understanding of the translational process from the design and delivery of novel oligomeric structures (working with AlgiPharma), though the design and analysis of efficacy models. The programme will, therefore, provide the successful candidate with the ideal opportunity to develop a career in academic or applied research.
Supervisors: Professor DW Thomas, Dr Katja Hill and Dr Karl Hawkins
Start Date: 1st October 2011
Number of Awards: 1
Funding Source: KESS and School funds
Funding Amount: This award is jointly funded by KESS and School funds. KESS will provide a maintenence stipend (£14,099 for 2011/12 , increasing each year) and UK/EU tuition fees will be met by the School. Additionally each KESS project includes a budget of c.£5,000 per year to cover project expenses, consumables, small equipment, travel, and training. Expenditure is authorised by supervisors.
Residency Criteria: Full awards (fees plus maintenance stipend) are open to UK Nationals, and EU students who can satisfy UK residency requirements. To be eligible for the full award, EU Nationals must have been in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the start of the course for which they are seeking funding, including for the purposes of full-time education. EU Nationals who do not meet the above residency requirement are eligible for a fees-only award, provided that they have been ordinarily resident in the EU for at least 3 years prior to the start of their proposed programme of study.
Eligible students must have an address in the Convergence area of Wales* at the time of their application to Cardiff University for PhD study and at the time they apply for KESS funding, as well as the right to work in the Convergence areas on completion and award of their PhD.
*The Convergence area covers West Wales and the Valleys, and is made up of the following 15 local authorities: Isle of Anglesey, Gwynedd, Conwy, Denbighshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, Swansea, Neath Port Talbot, Bridgend, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Merthyr Tydfil, Caerphilly, Blaenau Gwent and Torfaen.
Academic Criteria: Candidates would be expected to be able to demonstrate interest in a research career and be in receipt of (or expected to attain) a 2:1 degree in a relevant scientific discipline. Due to the multi-disciplinary nature of the project applicants with first degrees in both life- and physical sciences may apply. Demonstration of a commitment to a research career, as witnessed by publications and/or postgraduate Masters qualifications, would be advantageous as would enthusiasm and commitment to work.
How to Apply
All applicants must apply for a PhD place at Cardiff University through the School of Dentistry. If accepted, students can then apply for KESS funding, using the funding application form available from: http://www.cf.ac.uk/racdv/expertise/kess/vacancies.html
Guidance on how to submit an application for PhD study at Cardiff University can be found on the Apply Section of our website.
Application Deadline: 1st July 2011 (Applications closed for the 2011-2012 academic year).
Enquiries: for informal enquiries about this studentship, please contact:
Name: Professor David Thomas
Email address: ThomasDW2@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone no: 029 2074 3504