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Identifying New Antimicrobials against S. aureus in Chronic Wound Biofilms

   Hull York Medical School

  Dr Holly Wilkinson  Thursday, November 03, 2022  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Applications are invited for an exciting 4-year fully funded PhD studentship to commence on 1st January 2023. This PhD project is part of a larger cohort of studentships supported by the National Biofilms Innovation Centre Collaborative Training Partnerships Scheme. 

For this project, you will undertake an interdisciplinary programme of work supervised by Dr Holly Wilkinson and colleagues at the Hull York Medical School and University of York, which aims to elucidate the effects of AMR S. aureus on human skin repair and host response, alongside screening patient chronic wound samples to identify new antimicrobials.  

Persistent antimicrobial resistant infections are a major contributor to wound-related morbidity and mortality in the elderly. Prevalence is high, with chronic wounds costing the NHS a staggering £6Bn per annum. As current antimicrobial treatments are inadequate, there remains a clinical unmet need to develop new effective antimicrobial therapies. 

In this PhD studentship, you will build upon our previous findings to explore how AMR S. aureus alters human skin healing and immune response. In addition, you will test novel antimicrobial therapies against AMR S. aureus in a human skin wound infection model. You will use cutting-edge in vitro and ex vivo skin/wound models and profile patient samples provided by clinical collaborators. As part of the project, you will undertake a research placement at the University of York to gain insight into bacterial biochemistry and molecular biology. The project will provide extensive multidisciplinary training in wound biology, immunology and molecular biology. Key techniques used within the PhD will include metagenomic sequencing, molecular biology, microbiology, flow cytometry and histology. 

For informal inquiries, please contact Dr Holly Wilkinson (). 

Location and Research Culture 

The successful candidate will join the internationally renowned Hull York Medical School, embedded in a £28 million state-of-the-art Health Campus at the University of Hull. They will be located in an active and vibrant research group at the Daisy Research Laboratories, Castle Hill Hospital, where they will be supervised by experts in the fields of skin/wound microbiology and tissue repair. The student will undertake a research placement at the University of York under the direction of Dr Paul Fogg (co-supervisor) and will learn key immunological techniques with Dr Stefano Caserta (HYMS co-supervisor). 

Hull York Medical School’s unique partnership brings together the expertise of both the Universities of Hull and York and offers a thriving environment in which to conduct world-leading research. The Medical School delivers outstanding academic and clinical research with over 85% classed as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ (REF 2021).  

This exceptional opportunity will provide academic training in wound biology and microbiology from the wider research team – working on an area with the potential to improve the health of people locally and impacting national and international health agendas. 

Named Academic 

Dr Holly Wilkinson, Lecturer in Wound Healing, Centre for Biomedicine. Email:

Start Date 

1st January 2023

Qualification Required 

This studentship will appeal to a candidate with a strong interest in the areas of Biomedicine and/or Biochemistry. You will require an undergraduate degree with at least a 2.1, or MSc/MRes, in a relevant subject (Biomedical Sciences, Cell Biology, Microbiology, Biochemistry or related discipline). If English is not your first language you will require a valid English certificate equivalent to IELTS 6.5+ with a minimum of 6.0 in all components. 

How to Apply 

All applications MUST BE submitted to Hull York Medical School via the online application method choosing the option PhD in Medical Sciences 2023 January, full time: 

When prompted for a research proposal, please instead upload a statement outlining your academic interests. A research proposal is not necessary for this project.  

The deadline for applications is Thursday 3rd November 2022 and is only available to home-fee paying students. 

Funding Notes

This is a fully funded full-time project. The studentship will cover tuition fees and provide an annual stipend for 4 years at current UKRI rates. This project is only available to home-fee paying students.

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