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Bacterial battles in chronic respiratory infection

National Heart and Lung Institute

, Monday, May 03, 2021 Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

3yr PhD funded by the Academy of Medical Sciences and the National Heart and Lung Institute - commencing ideally in July 2021

Applications are invited from candidates with a background in Microbiology, Bioinformatics, Biochemistry, Biomedical Sciences or a related discipline, for a 3 year PhD studentship to investigate the mechanisms underlying the virulence mechanisms of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. A background in Microbial Genomics and Molecular Microbiology would be helpful.

Project description

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is ranked 2nd on the critical priority list by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for pathogens requiring new antibiotics/treatment strategies. This is due to its ability to cause severe and often deadly infections, its intrinsically high level of antimicrobial resistance to a broad range of antibiotics and capacity to form biofilms. These infections occur at a range of sites including the respiratory tract, urinary tract, gastrointestinal tract, eyes, ears and bloodstream. In addition, this bacterium causes chronic infections in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients that have few treatment options and is one of the primary causes of mortality for those patients. Over time P. aeruginosa tends to dominate and outcompete organisms in these niches through competition and high resistance to certain antibiotics. An exciting PhD position exists to investigate mechanisms and factors that enable this to occur and will build on the momentum of recent high impact publications (, in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in Cellular Microbiology

and in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. This post will be co-supervised by Dr Luke Allsopp and Professor Jane Davies enabling strong real world links and access to diverse clinical isolates. This cutting edge molecular microbiological project requires an enthusiastic candidate with a passion for investigating microbial interactions. Candidates with strengths or demonstrable interests in Bioinformatics and Microbial Genomics are particularly encouraged to apply.

Imperial College London provides excellent opportunities for research students' training. All students benefit from a full programme of training in research and transferable skills organised through the Graduate School, the quality of which has been recognised several times at the Times Higher Education (THE) Awards.

The student will be based in the National Heart and Lung Institute which provides an exciting environment, with state of the art facilities and excellent opportunities for PhD student training including research seminars and journal clubs. In addition, the institute provides extensive collaborative opportunities with other research groups. Prof Davies holds a clinical position at our partner institution, the Royal Brompton & Harefield Hospital, one of the largest cystic fibrosis centres in Europe, providing unparalleled access to patient samples and clinical expertise. The project will be embedded within the Strategic Research Centre for Pseudomonas Infection in Cystic Fibrosis, a multi-centre collaborative of scientists and research-active clinical and allied health professionals. The position will be based in central London in a fully equipped class 2 biosafety laboratory and nestled in the vibrant research groups of Luke Allsopp and Jane Davies.


Applicants must hold a first or upper second-class undergraduate degree or UK equivalent. A Masters degree (merit or above) in an appropriate subject and from a recognised academic institution is strongly desirable (or expect to obtain) but not necessary. Strong candidates who are nearing Masters completion after July are invited to apply and make it clear they wish to be considered for this and future opportunities.

How to Apply

To apply please send a CV, a one page personal statement, and the names and addresses of at least two academic referees to Dr Luke Allsopp by email on . Please note that candidates must fulfil College admissions criteria.

Application deadline: 3rd of May

Proposed virtual interview date: 14 and 17th of May.

Committed to equality and valuing diversity. We are also an Athena SWAN Silver Award winner, a Stonewall Diversity Champion, a Disability Confident Employer and are working in partnership with GIRES to promote respect for trans people.

Funding Notes

The studentship will be funded for 3 years with a tax free bursary. Tuition fees at the Home/EU rate will also be paid (EU students should be entitled to Home rates if they are enrolled before the 30th of July).

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