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Managing polymicrobial biofilm formation on tracheostomy tubing


   School of Biosciences

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  Dr C W Gourlay  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Canterbury United Kingdom Cell Biology Genetics Microbiology Molecular Biology Pathology

About the Project

Tracheostomy tubes are used widely to aid vulnerable patients with impaired airway function. They can be applied across a range of scenarios, from intensive care units to home care settings, and can remain within the patient for periods ranging from one week to many years. A major issue arises from the rapid formation of a drug resistant microbial biofilm on the surface of the tube, this poses a significant infection risk to the patient. 

This project aligns research expertise from the University of Kent with the global tracheostomy tube manufacturer Smiths Medical and a clinical team within the East Kent University Hospital Trust. Our aim is to tackle biofilm formation and improve patient outcome using a research led approach. The student will be trained in advanced microbiology and cell biological techniques as well as being offered the opportunity to gain experience in the material science of medical device construction and testing. In addition, the student will interface with a multi-disciplinary clinical team on a regular basis. The project offers an exciting package of training opportunities within multiple disciplines and the potential for real impact.

You will be part of a vibrant research team under the superision of Dr. Campbell Gourlay https://www.kent.ac.uk/biosciences/people/1095/gourlay-campbell within the school of Biosciences, which is among the best-funded schools of its kind in the UK, with current support from the BBSRC, NERC, MRC, Wellcome Trust, EU, and industry. It has 40 academic staff, 56 research staff (facility managers, research fellows, postdoctoral researchers and technicians), approximately 100 postgraduate research students and 20 key support staff. The school's vibrant atmosphere has expanded to become a flourishing environment to study for postgraduate degrees in a notably friendly and supportive teaching and research environment.

The Gourlay group is part of the Kent Fungal Group https://www.kentfungalgroup.com/ (KFG) which brings together a number of research groups in the School of Biosciences that primarily use yeasts or other fungi as ‘model systems’ for their research. One strength of the KFG is the range of model fungi being exploited for both fundamental and medical/translational research. These include Bakers’ yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) and Fission yeast (Schizosaccharomyces pombe) and yeasts associated with human disease, specifically Candida albicans and Cryptococcus neoformans. In addition to studying key cellular processes in the fungal cell such as protein synthesis, amyloids and cell division, members of the KFG are also using yeast to explore the molecular basis of human diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Creutzfeldt-Jakob, Huntington’s and Parkinson’s diseases as well as ageing. The KFG not only provides support for both fundamental and medical/translational fungal research, but also provides an excellent training environment for young fungal researchers.

Please contact Dr. Campbell Gourlay for more information, informal enquiries and advice on application for this PhD scholarship ([Email Address Removed])

To apply please do so via the this link https://evision.kent.ac.uk/urd/sits.urd/run/siw_ipp_lgn.login?process=siw_ipp_app&code1=RMIC000101PH-FD&code2=0082 stating Dr Campbell Gourlay as the supervisor and quoting the title of the project.


Funding Notes

The project is funded at UK student level including all fees, stipend and experimental costs, due to the fee level set for EU and overseas students in the UK these applicants will be required to fund their own living costs and so although eligible to apply will only be considered if able to provide evidence they can dunf their own living expenses in the UK (accomodation/bills/food/travel).
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