The Spread and Persistence of Antimicrobial Resistance Genes in Aquatic Environments
PhDs and postgraduate research
Self-funded PhD students only
School of Biological Sciences
Applications accepted all year round
Applications are invited for a self-funded, 3 year full-time or 6 year part-time PhD studentship, to commence in February or October. This practice-based PhD involves investigating the spread of antimicrobial resistant bacteria , and is supervised by Joy Watts (email@example.com) and Michelle Hale (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Antibiotics are our first line of defence against bacterial infections, and therefore play a critical role in modern clinical care. However, due to natural processes and the widespread use (and misuse) of antibiotics, antimicrobial resistance (AMR) genes are now widespread in both clinical and natural environments.
Transfer of antimicrobial resistance is a global threat to healthcare systems and human longevity and it is therefore critical that we develop a better understanding of how AMR genes proliferate, persist in the environment, and spread - especially into clinically-relevant pathogenic species.
The work will include:
- use of the latest molecular and analytical techniques to address the problem
Bacteria obtain resistance to antibiotics in a number of ways: a major route is horizontal gene transfer (HGT) via the processes of transformation, conjugation or transduction in the environment, resulting in a change from a resistant to sensitive strain. Rates of HGT are increased in environmental systems with elevated levels of heavy metals, due to the process of co-selection.
Aquatic sediments contain compounds from historic pollution events such as direct sewage release, industrial contaminants and agricultural waste including aquaculture, resulting in a stratified environment with a complex microbial community.
This PhD will focus on the study of re-suspension of AMR genes in the water column. You'll further analyse the pathways and interactions responsible for AMR transfer, and study sediment microcosm systems to assess the HGT rates of AMR genes in aquatic sediments.
Fees and funding
Funding availability: Self-funded PhD students only.
PhD full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the UK Government Doctoral Loan (UK and EU students only).
2020/2021 fees (applicable for October 2020 and February 2021 start)
Home/EU/CI full-time students: £4,407 p/a*
Home/EU/CI part-time students: £2,204 p/a*
International full-time students: £16,400 p/a*
International part-time students: £8,200 p/a*
*All fees are subject to annual increase
- A minimum of a second-class honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject or a master’s degree in an appropriate subject.
- Exceptionally, equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will be considered. An online portfolio submission may be required as part of the selection process. All applicants are subject to interview.
- English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.