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Biofilm formation and loss under dynamic conditions

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Monday, September 30, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Biofilms cause significant challenges in systems under flow, causing bioclogging, corrosion, and contamination. How biofilms respond to these dynamic conditions is poorly understood. The project would suit someone with a background in microbiology, biological sciences or cognate disciplines.

Biofilms cause significant challenges in systems under flow, causing bioclogging, corrosion, and contamination. The controls on biofilm formation have been explored largely under steady-state conditions (i.e constant nutrients or flow regime). However, real-world systems are frequently dynamic, with pulsed or fluctuating flows, or varying nutrient loads. How biofilms respond to these dynamic conditions is poorly understood. Such information is key to developing strategies which prevent biofilm formation, or can predict release of biofilm material. These finding can be applied to, for example, water distribution networks, water and wastewater treatment systems and piped systems in the oil and gas sector.

Rapid advances in molecular biology and in imaging techniques means we are now capable of coupling detailed imaging of biofilm response with gene expression and community dynamics, providing unprecedented insight. Strathclyde University, for example, houses the worlds only mesolens facility, a system which enables faster, deeper, wider and more sensitive imaging than current methods. This PhD, based at the University of Strathclyde, will couple advanced imaging methods with genomics and fluid dynamics to examine how biofilm form under, and are damaged by, pulsed flow conditions. The work will also explore how pulsed flow can build up resilience and strength within the biofilm.

Understanding the response of biofilms to pulsed and dynamic conditions can enable us to develop strategies to either prevent biofilm formation or to remove biofilms from pumped systems

Funding Notes

Home fee, standard EPSRC stipend plus £5k per year project costs

Non-home students will have to provide the excess fees and may not be eligible for a stipend (see UKRI studentships page)

Related Subjects

How good is research at University of Strathclyde in Civil and Construction Engineering?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 20.20

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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