This project offers the right candidate a £5000 bursary contribution in the first year only. Please contact the supervisor for more detail.
This project for self-funded students only addresses an urgent Global Challenge – the growing widespread incidence of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). It will be the first to investigate an unreported alarming concern, that wild seals are dying from AMR bacterial infections and mortality is greater in more polluted waters.
Recent evidence suggests industrial pollutants are a more plausible explanation of the widespread global problem of AMR bacteria not the overuse of antibiotics in medicine as widely believed. Furthermore, industrial pollutants are immunosuppressive, in mammals including humans, so highly contaminated individuals will be more susceptible to infections. Pollutants and antibiotics contaminate the marine food chain via industrial and municipal (including hospital) wastewater discharges. Seals are invaluable surrogates for humans, sharing similar physiology and both being top predators of the same food chain, causing them to be exposed to the same biomagnified concentrations of persistent industrial pollutants and aquatic bacteria.
This project aims to:
- Determine industrial pollutant and antibiotic concentrations in seal tissue samples to identify prevalent pathogenic AMR bacteria in samples from seals inhabiting highly polluted estuaries fed by rivers draining from industrialised, heavily polluted waters.
- Establish the microbiome using swabs collected from the marine food chain (seals, fish etc)
- Test antimicrobial resistance of bacteria cultured from seals, fish and sediments collected from study areas.
- Analysis of population data and veterinary/pathological findings from wildlife vets to understand the population impact of terminal disease in seals from resistant bacterial infections.
Fieldwork, lab and desk work will all be required.
Desirable knowledge (but training will also be provided also):
- Analytical chemistry
- cell culture
IMPORTANT: Please list the modules from your degrees (with grades), especially the dissertation. A recent photograph on your CV always helps. Please note this project is for self-funded students only.
Doctoral research programmes (PhDs) take a proud place in the world-class research environment and community at Brunel. PhD students are recognised and valued by their supervisors as an essential part of their departments and a key component of the university's overall strategy to develop and deliver world-class research.
A PhD programme is expected to take 3 years full-time or 6 years part-time, with intakes starting in January, April or October.
The general University entrance requirement for registration for a research degree is normally a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree (1st or 2:1) or an international equivalent. A Masters degree is a welcome, but not required, qualification for entry.
Find out how to apply for a PhD at Brunel
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