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(BBSRC DTP) Developing of a tool-kit of chemical probes for bioimaging of microbial virulence

Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health

Manchester United Kingdom Computational Chemistry Organic Chemistry Pharmaceutical Chemistry Structural Biology Synthetic Chemistry

About the Project

The increasing emergence of multi-drug-resistant microorganisms has led the World Health Organisation to plead for action against antimicrobial resistance (AMR). In order to control the spread of infectious diseases, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic, and to improve standard of health, is critical that new classes of antimicrobial agents with novel mechanisms of action are developed. Poor efficacy and the rising of severe anti microbial resistance (AMR) to current antibiotics is now the main challenge to control and eradicate infectious diseases.

Pathogens like Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), Aspergillus fumigatus or Candida Albicans, use secreted virulence factors to challenge the normal immune response and avoid killing within host macrophages, thus establishing infection. However, the mechanisms of microbial survival and the host response to infection are still poorly understood.

This projects aims to develop specific and selective chemical ligands with fluorescent probes to target critical virulence factors to further study their role in pathogenesis using bio-imaging techniques. The knowledge gained from these investigations will advance our understanding of host-pathogen interactions and provide the basis for future new therapies to fight infections.

This project offers an exciting new approach to bioimaging critical pathogenesis processes in real life with potential applications for novel therapies. The project will involve a multidisciplinary approach with computational chemistry and structural biology (Tabernero), medicinal chemistry and organic synthesis (Butterworth), together with biochemical and imaging technologies. The collaborative nature of the project is a unique opportunity to engage in an interdisciplinary working environment and the complementary expertise of the supervisory team means that the student will have a much broader and rounded up training during the PhD.

Prof. Tabernero:
Dr. Butterworth:

Entry Requirements:
Applicants must have obtained, or be about to obtain, at least an upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject.

UK applicants interested in this project should make direct contact with the Principal Supervisor to arrange to discuss the project further as soon as possible. International applicants (including EU nationals) must ensure they meet the academic eligibility criteria (including English Language) as outlined before contacting potential supervisors to express an interest in their project. Eligibility can be checked via the University Country Specific information page (

If your country is not listed you must contact the Doctoral Academy Admissions Team providing a detailed CV (to include academic qualifications – stating degree classification(s) and dates awarded) and relevant transcripts.

Following the review of your qualifications and with support from potential supervisor(s), you will be informed whether you can submit a formal online application.

To be considered for this project you MUST submit a formal online application form - full details on how to apply can be found on the BBSRC DTP website

Funding Notes

Funding will cover UK tuition fees/stipend only. The University of Manchester aims to support the most outstanding applicants from outside the UK. We are able to offer a limited number of scholarships that will enable full studentships to be awarded to international applicants. These full studentships will only be awarded to exceptional quality candidates, due to the competitive nature of this scheme.

Equality, diversity and inclusion is fundamental to the success of The University of Manchester, and is at the heart of all of our activities. The full Equality, diversity and inclusion statement can be found on the website View Website

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