Coventry University Featured PhD Programmes
University of West London Featured PhD Programmes
University of Reading Featured PhD Programmes

Bioprospecting & biotechnology - mining the Polar microbial metagenome (Ref: SF20/APP/PEARCE2)

Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

This project is no longer listed on and may not be available.

Click here to search for PhD studentship opportunities
Prof D Pearce Applications accepted all year round Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

This project seeks to exploit new and existing Polar microbial metagenomic libraries for bioprospecting and biotechnology. Using a wide range of diverse molecular techniques, we will research the distribution of particularly useful (e.g. involved in secondary metabolite production, enzyme activity, stress response, low temperature activity) or ecologically important (e.g. related to antibiotic resistance, nutrient sequestration, pigment production, resistance genes, quorum sensing, signalling and viral predation) traits in Polar microbes. The information will be relevant to our understanding of the basic microbial ecology of interesting polar sites but may also generate information leading to translational impacts in the general fields of drug discovery and microbial ecology. In particular, we will target those sequences involved in the control of gene expression, ice nucleation, nitrogen cycling, biodegradation of plastics and ocean acidification and those with the potential for commercial exploitation.
Modern microbiology has been transformed by new techniques in molecular biology and the expanding field of ‘omics’ technologies. Metagenomics allows us to investigate the genomes of all of the microorganisms present in an environment simultaneously – a quantum leap beyond traditional methods that have selectively targeted specific cultivated microorganisms. Recent outcomes include practical applications in a wide range of areas of human activity such as environmental remediation, alternative energy, medicine, industry and agriculture.
We have already generated, a resource of considerable potential from which key functional genes will be identified, using a combination of in silico bioinformatic analysis of metagenomic library sequence information (already obtained) and laboratory based direct screening of the metagenomic library with targeted probes. This project will build on the potential of that resource

Eligibility and How to Apply:
Please note eligibility requirement:
• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
• Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see

Please note: Applications should include a covering letter that includes a short summary (500 words max.) of a relevant piece of research that you have previously completed and the reasons you consider yourself suited to the project. Applications that do not include the advert reference (e.g. SF20/…) will not be considered.

Deadline for applications: 1st July for October start, or 1st December for March start
Start Date: October or March
Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality.

for enquiries, please contact Prof David Pearce ([Email Address Removed])

Funding Notes

Please note, this is a self-funded project and does not include tuition fees or stipend; the studentship is available to Students Worldwide. Fee bands are available at . A relevant fee band will be discussed at interview based on project running costs


Chiara Borsetto; Gregory C.A. Amos; Ulisses Nunes da Rocha; Alex L. Mitchell; Robert D. Finn; Rabah Forar Laidi; Carlos Vallin; David A. Pearce; Kevin K. Newsham; Elizabeth M.H. Wellington (2019). Microbial community drivers of PK/NRP gene diversity in selected global soils. Microbiome MBIO-D-18-00868R1

Salwoom, L., Raja Abd Rahman, R., Salleh, A., Mohd. Shariff, F., Convey, P., Pearce, D. & Mohamad Ali, M. (2019) Isolation, Characterisation, and Lipase Production of a Cold-Adapted Bacterial Strain Pseudomonas sp. LSK25 Isolated from Signy Island, Antarctica. Molecules. 24, 4, 715.

See-Too, W. S., Convey, P., Pearce, D. A. & Chan, K. G., (2018) Characterization of a novel N-acylhomoserine lactonase, AidP, from Antarctic Planococcus sp. Microbial Cell Factories. 17, 1, 179.

See-Too, Wah-Seng, Ee, Robson, Lim, Yan-Lue, Convey, Peter, Pearce, David, Mohidin, Taznim Begam Mohd, Yin, Wai-Fong and Chan, Kok Gan (2017) Complete genome of Arthrobacter alpinus strain R3.8, bioremediation potential unravelled with genomic analysis. Standards in Genomic Sciences, 12 (1). p. 52. ISSN 1944-3277.

See-Too, Wah-Seng, Ee, Robson, Madhaiyan, Munusamy, Kwon, Soon-Wo, Tan, Jia Yi, Lim, Yan Lue, Convey, Peter, Pearce, David, Yin, Wai Fong and Chan, Kok-Gan (2017) Planococcus versutus sp. nov., isolated from soil. International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology, 67 (4). pp. 944-950. ISSN 1466-5026

See-Too, Wah Seng, Ee, Robson, Lim, Yan-Lue, Convey, Peter, Pearce, David, Yin, Wai-Fong and Chan, Kok-Gan (2017) AidP, a novel N-Acyl homoserine lactonase gene from Antarctic Planococcus sp. Scientific Reports, 7. p. 42968. ISSN 2045-2322

See-Too, Wah-Seng, Tan, Jia Yi, Ee, Robson, Lim, Yan-Lue, Convey, Peter, Pearce, David, Yin, Wai-Fong and Chan, Kok-Gan (2016) De novo assembly of complete genome sequence of Planococcus kocurii ATCC 43650T, a potential plant growth promoting bacterium. Marine Genomics, 28. pp. 33-35. ISSN 1874-7787

See-Too, Wah-Seng, Lim, Yan Lue, Ee, Robson, Convey, Peter, Pearce, David, Yin, Wai-Fong and Chan, Kok-Gan (2016) Complete genome of Pseudomonas sp. strain L10.10, a psychrotolerant biofertilizer that could promote plant growth. Journal of Biotechnology, 222. pp. 84-85. ISSN 0168-1656

See-Too, Wah-Seng, Convey, Peter, Pearce, David, Lim, Yan Lue, Ee, Robson, Yin, Wai-Fong and Chan, Kok-Gan (2016) Complete genome of Planococcus rifietoensis M8T, a halotolerant and potentially plant growth promoting bacterium. Journal of Biotechnology, 221. pp. 114-115. ISSN 0168-1656

Search Suggestions

Search Suggestions

Based on your current searches we recommend the following search filters.

FindAPhD. Copyright 2005-2021
All rights reserved.