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Adapt or die? Understanding how bacterial bioflms evolve under stress (WEBBERQ20DTP)

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Monday, November 25, 2019
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Most bacteria in nature exist within a biofilm; a community of aggregated cells. Biofilms are important in many industrial contexts and most bacterial infections include biofilms. One hallmark of biofilms is their extreme resistance to antimicrobials. However, very little is known about how bacteria in biofilms evolve and adapt to stress. This project aims to study how mixed communities of bacteria of different species (as seen in nature) respond to antimicrobials, using a biofilm evolution model we developed in the lab. Using a combination of molecular microbiology, genetics and metagenomics, the project will explore how bacterial populations evolve and, how stress influences movement of mobile DNA elements such as plasmids. The student will join a large community of molecular microbiologists within the Quadram Institute in a brand new, purpose-built building with state-of-the-art facilities. The Quadram Institute is based on the Norwich Research Park - home to one of the largest groups of microbiologists in Europe. The student will join a large cohort of graduate researchers with exceptional training opportunities.

Informal enquiries can be sent to

This project has been shortlisted for funding by the Norwich Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (NRPDTP). Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed as part of the studentship competition. Candidates will be interviewed on either the 7th, 8th or 9th January 2020.

The NRP DTP offers postgraduates the opportunity to undertake a 4-year research project whilst enhancing professional development and research skills through a comprehensive training programme. You will join a vibrant community of world-leading researchers. All NRPDTP students undertake a three-month professional internship (PIPS) during their study. The internship offers exciting and invaluable work experience designed to enhance professional development. Full support and advice will be provided by our Professional Internship team. Students with, or expecting to attain, at least an upper second-class honours degree, or equivalent, are invited to apply.

For further information and to apply, please visit our website:

Funding Notes

For funding eligibility guidance, please visit our website: View Website. Full Studentships cover a stipend (2019/0 rate: £15,009pa), research costs and tuition fees at UK/EU rate and are available to UK and EU students who meet the UK residency requirements.

Students from EU countries who do not meet the UK residency requirements may be eligible for a fees-only award. Students in receipt of a fees-only award will be eligible for a maintenance stipend awarded by the NRPDTP Bioscience Doctoral Scholarships. To be eligible students must meet the EU residency requirements.

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