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Application of Bacteriophages in the Biocontrol of Bacteria (including pathogens, food spoilage organisms and wastewater communities)

School of Applied Sciences

About the Project

Bacteriophages (phages) are viruses that specifically infect and kill bacteria. Due to bacterial genus, species and strain specificity, phages offer the potential for targeted ‘knock-out’ of a species of interest in a multispecies community thereby facilitating elucidation of the specific contribution of individual species to the community and providing a tool for control of undesirable bacterial populations (i.e. biocontrol). The phage - bacterial host specificity and the ability to kill their target opens up the potential for the application of phages to a range of different contexts. These include the prospecting and analysis of phage-derived proteins with bactericidal/bacteriostatic effects on selected bacterial pathogens of relevance to human and animal health, the application of phages to control food spoilage organisms, and the impact of phages on antimicrobial resistance and bacterial communities in wastewater treatment.

Academic qualifications
A first degree (at least a 2.1) ideally in microbiology/molecular biology with a good fundamental knowledge of techniques used to study microorganisms.

English language requirement
IELTS score must be at least 6.5 (with not less than 6.0 in each of the four components). Other, equivalent qualifications will be accepted. Full details of the University’s policy are available online.

Essential attributes:
 Experience of fundamental microbiology laboratory skills
 Competent in data analysis, MS Office
 Knowledge of molecular biology techniques
 Good written and oral communication skills
 Strong motivation, with evidence of independent research skills relevant to the project
 Good time management

Desirable attributes:
Good numeracy and statistical skills; Bioinformatics

Funding Notes

This is an unfunded PhD position

Please quote project code SAS0085 in your enquiry and application.


• Completed application form
• CV
• 2 academic references, using the Postgraduate Educational Reference Form (Found on the application process page)
• A personal research statement (This should include (a) a brief description of your relevant experience and skills, (b) an indication of what you would uniquely bring to the project and (c) a statement of how this project fits with your future direction.)
• Evidence of proficiency in English (if appropriate)


Lood R, Ertürk G and Mattiasson B (2017) Revisiting antibiotic resistance spreading in wastewater treatment plants - bacteriophages as a much neglected potential transmission vehicle. Front Microbiol 8:2298. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2017.02298
Mathieu J, Yu P, Zuo P, Da Silva MLB and Alvarez PJJ (2019) Going viral:emerging opportunities for phage-based bacterial control in water treatment and reuse. Acc Chem Res 52:849-857
Moye ZD, Woolston J, and Sulakvelidze A (2018) Bacteriophage applications for food production and processing. Viruses 10(4). pii: E205. doi: 10.3390/v10040205
Salifu, SP, Casey SA and Foley, S. (2013) Isolation and characterisation of soilborne virulent bacteriophages infecting the pathogen Rhodococcus equi. J Appl Microbiol 114:1625-1633
Salifu, S.P., Valero-Rello, A., Campbell, S.A., Inglis, N.F., Scortti, M., Foley, S., and Vázquez-Boland J.A. (2013) Genome and proteome analysis of phage E3 infecting the soil-borne actinomycete Rhodococcus equi. Environ Microbiol
Reports 5:170-178
Singh S, Godavarthi S, and Kumar A, Sen R (2019) A mycobacteriophage genomics approach to identify novel mycobacteriophage proteins with mycobactericidal properties. Microbiol 165:722-736
Svircev A, Roach D, and Castle A (2018) Framing the future with bacteriophages in agriculture. Viruses.10(5). pii: E218. doi: 10.3390/v10050218

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