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Exploiting Bacterial Metagenomics Data for the Discovery of Novel Antibiotics

Project Description

The World Health Organization has identified increasing levels of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) as a major global challenge. One of the ways to tackle AMR, is to keep discovering novel metabolites with antimicrobial activity that may find applications in medicine. Streptomyces have traditionally been exploited to provide novel compounds to tackle the shortage in new drug discovery. Streptomyces are primarily soil-dwelling, filamentous bacteria that produce around two-thirds of all commercially important antibiotics.

A studentship is offered to undertake exciting research for a PhD degree. The proposed project will investigate soil metagenomics data in a view of exploiting biosynthetic gene clusters for novel antibiotic discovery. You will work within the Heriot-Watt microbiology group where you will be given full training in bacterial molecular genetics and bioinformatics analysis. Part of the work will be undertaken in a purpose built, £21 m Lyell Centre ( with fully equipped laboratories, at Heriot-Watt University.

The successful candidate will have strong credentials, a distinction in a relevant degree, ideally microbiology, would be an advantage and a strong understanding of bacterial genetics and bioinformatics analysis is desirable.

Please complete our online application form and select PhD Environment and include the project reference, title and supervisor on your application. Please also provide a supporting statement or cover letter, and a CV, degree certificates, academic transcripts and an academic reference. You may be invited to undertake an initial interview by Skype prior to shortlisting selected candidates.

You must also provide proof of your ability in the English language (if English is not your mother tongue or if you have not already studied for a degree that was taught in English within the last 2 years). We require an IELTS certificate showing an overall score of at least 6.5 with no component scoring less than 6.0 or a TOEFL certificate with a minimum score of 90 points.

Interviews are scheduled for the week commencing 9 March and the successful candidate is expected to take up their appointment on 1 May 2020.

Funding Notes

The scholarship will cover tuition fees and provide an annual stipend of approximately £15,009 for the 36 month duration of the project and is available to applicants from the UK, EU and overseas.

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