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High-throughput discovery of novel antibiotics using synthetic microbiology


School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences

Applications accepted all year round Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a frequent problem in the treatment of disease caused by several clinical bacterial pathogens. In the European Union, antibiotic-resistant infections kill nearly 25,000 patients and represent a total expenditure of £1.5 billion per year. In response, the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of the United Kingdom termed antibiotic resistance “a major area of concern” and proposed its inclusion on the National Security Risk Assessment, which prioritises major disruptive risks to national security. Furthermore, the CMO suggested that the UK government facilitate global action, especially concerning the development of novel antibiotics. However, given the expensive research, development and clinical testing required to bring an antibiotic to market, coupled with the fact that they are taken for limited time courses and not for life, makes them a very unattractive prospect for pharmaceutical companies.

This PhD project in the newly established research group of Dr Roger Draheim is responsible for implementation of a novel “biological antibiotic screening” platform within the School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Portsmouth. The overall aim of this project is to develop this screening technology in order to sharply reduce the economic cost required for antibiotic discovery to the point where it becomes adopted as the de facto standard within the pharmaceutical industry. This multidisciplinary project will be conducted within newly renovated laboratory space and spans a broad range of biological sciences including, but not limited to: molecular biology, microbiology, synthetic biology, biochemistry, high-throughput screening and collection/management of large data sets (i.e. big data). Applicants should therefore ideally have previous experience in one or more of these areas, although they will receive training in all relevant areas.

In addition, students will have access to a vast number of training resources available at through the Graduate School at the University of Portsmouth including those geared toward improving presentation skills, time-management and project organisation skills, reviewing literature, thesis writing, data analysis and statistics, and other various related training modules.

Portsmouth is a vibrant waterfront city on the south coast of England and is within easy reach of London. The city is compact and friendly with the university at its heart. More information about living in the city and working at the university can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Ort2tM3V7o

Funding Notes

Self-funded PhD Students only (£4,260 pa (home), £15,900 pa (international) tuition fees + £10k pa bench fees)

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