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KESS2 Scholarship: Development of a rapid and sensitive method to detect the parasite Cryptosporidium in drinking water (MbyRes)

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Sunday, January 26, 2020
  • Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

Project Description

Masters by Research. Here is an exciting opportunity to study a technology and method which could lead to entirely new approaches in detecting living contaminants in drinking water.
The selected candidate will apply their laboratory skills and ambition to detect Cryptosporidium in drinking water in collaboration with Welsh DCWW. This collaboration will allow the student to develop transferable knowledge and skills in this most exciting and active field of molecular diagnostics research.

Programme of research:

Cryptosporidium is a protozoan parasite that causes a diarrhoeal disease known as cryptosporidiosis. The organism is of common worldwide occurrence. Cryptosporidiosis in humans is usually, but not solely caused by the specific species of C.hominis and C. parvum. While water borne transmission through the public water supply is rare, it has the potential to affect large numbers of people and it is therefore vitally important to ensure that effective barriers are in place. In the UK, water companies adopt a formal risk-based approach to assessing and managing Cryptosporidium that could constitute a potential danger to human health. Such an approach is widely used by drinking water providers to assess potential sources in the catchment and the risks to drinking water sources.
Standard detection of Cryptosporidium method is a long, labour intensive, inefficient and expensive method. The method has a limited recovery ability for the recovery of Cryptosporidium oocysts in drinking water. When spiking samples with known quantities of oocysts in validation and industry studies and acceptable recovery value is 30%. The method has not been developed significantly for 20-30 years and would benefit immensely from research and development to improve the current process.
In this project we will seek to use Loop-mediated isothermal Amplification of DNA (LAMP) to detect Cryptosporidium. LAMP is a primer-based technology capable of amplifying very low copies of specific DNA molecules within 30 min. In literature, there are examples of LAMP-based methods to amplify Cryptosporidium DNA. We will focus on the isolation and subsequent amplification of Cryptosporidium DNA from laboratory, environmental and spiked drinking water samples to develop a new method. Furthermore, USW has developed a low-cost portable prototype device which can detect LAMP reactions. This prototype will be tested for Cryptosporidium detection.

Application Process:

To download an application package, please visit: Participant Application Package:
For any queries on eligibility, please contact: KESS Team at Research and Innovation Services, University of South Wales: Tel: 01443 482578
For informal enquiries or further programme information, please contact: Dr Jeroen Nieuwland ().
PDC / USW MINI 21727

Funding Notes

The studentship will cover the fees for a full-time MbyRes programme and pay a stipend of circa £11k p.a. There is also around £3k project support costs available for consumables, travel, minor equipment, training (including the KESS Grad School) and conference attendance.
The position is available from 1st April 2020.

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