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Development of a new rapid antibiotic susceptibility test


Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences

Monday, August 31, 2020 Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Supervisory Team: Daniel Spencer and Hywel Morgan

Project description

A three-year fully funded PhD studentship is available at the Biomedical Electronics Research group in the Department of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS). The project concerns the development of new assays for rapidly determining the resistance of bacteria to antibiotics. So called antimicrobial resistance is becoming a major global problem with previously curable infections becoming deadly. One of the causes of this rise in multidrug and pan-drug resistant bacteria is that antibiotics are rarely prescribed using diagnostic testing. Genotypic approaches such as PCR can quickly identify resistance genes, but they cannot accurately predict the susceptibility of bacterial isolates. Traditional microbiology testing directly measures bacterial growth and is the gold standard but is too slow to inform prescribing. During this PhD you will take a new approach to this challenge by developing fast and accurate susceptibility test, utilising novel miniature electronic sensors within a lab-on-a-chip system.

The ideal candidate will have a first class or upper second class degree in an engineering discipline and enjoy practical work in a laboratory setting. Throughout the PhD, you will acquire new skills in microfabrication, the design and implementation of lab-on-a-chip and microfluidic systems, electronic sensing principles and microbiology. You will be based in the purpose build interdisciplinary Life Sciences building on the main Campus at the University of Southampton.

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Dr Daniel Spencer, and Prof Hywel Morgan Biomedical Electronics Research Group.

Entry Requirements
A very good undergraduate degree (at least a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent).

Closing date: applications should be received no later than 31 August 2020 for standard admissions, but later applications may be considered depending on the funds remaining in place.

Funding: full tuition fees for EU/UK students plus for UK students, an enhanced stipend of £15,285 tax-free per annum for up to 3.5 years.

How To Apply

Applications should be made online, please select the academic session 2020-21 “PhD Electronics & Electrical Eng (Full time)” as the programme. Please enter Daniel Spencer under the proposed supervisor.

Applications should include:
Research Proposal
Curriculum Vitae
Two reference letters
Degree Transcripts to date
Apply online: https://www.southampton.ac.uk/courses/how-to-apply/postgraduate-applications.page

For further information please contact:



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