Six new fully funded PhD research studentships are offered in the School of Applied Sciences for a 23 September 2019 start. The School is made up of the Departments of Biological and Geographical Sciences, Chemical Sciences and Pharmaceutical Sciences.
There is competition funding for 6 of the 12 research projects advertised. Usually the projects which receive the best applicants are funded.
Successful applicants will receive a fully funded PhD opportunity to work within a multi-disciplinary team covering environmental science, geomicrobiology, molecular biology and ecology. The focus of the project will be of developing stable isotope probing (SIP) methodologies coupled to metagenomics for the functional characterisation of contaminated soil populations. The disposal of solid wastes from industrial processes can result in the exposure of soil to alkaline (pH>11) leachates and potentially harmful elements (e.g. Cr, As, V, Al). Despite these conditions, a diverse microbial population is present in soils, which cycle a number of key elements (P, N, S, C). Here SIP will be used to profile both the taxonomic and functional aspects of these soil processes.
Wetland management is a biotic strategy for the rehabilitation of these soils in which complex interactions occur between perennials, such as Phragmites spp and resident microflora. In many cases, symbiosis is linked to the release of both organic and inorganic substrates. SIP metagenomics and mass spectroscopic methodologies can be used for the identification of these substrates and their subsequent ecosystem function, shedding light on their rehabilitative properties within the soil.
This symbiosis is likely to impact upon the release or retention of toxic elements within the leachate which may affect ecosystem function. Therefore, an understanding of macroinvertebrate diversity and function is likely to assist in building an ecological picture of the effect of these elements.
The research will incorporate the collection of samples from a number of contaminated sites in the UK and Republic of Ireland. Laboratory based work will focus on the functional characterisation of soils and interaction with perennials, through stable isotope probing coupled to molecular biology approaches. The studentship would suit those with a background in environmental science, geomicrobiology or molecular biology fields.
The studentships are open to citizens of the UK or EU only, and cover the full cost of tuition fees and an annual tax-free bursary of £15,009 for three years (RCUK rates). Successful applicants will have a very good first or upper second degree or Masters degree in a relevant subject. The course will begin in September 2019.
To apply, please send your CV and a personal statement to [email protected]
. Please indicate that you wish to apply for the project above and highlight Dr Simon Rout, as the supervisor. Please note that the deadline for applications is 25 April 2019.
Please contact Dr. Simon Rout ([email protected]
) for enquiries on the project.