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Modelling of biofilm inception

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  • Full or part time
    Dr M Mazza
    Prof A Archer
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

The vast majority of microorganisms do not live in isolation, but rather in consortia called biofilms. Biofilms are cities of microorganisms, which are organized to optimize their growth and function. Biofilms grow on the surface of teeth and on open wounds and trigger virulent infections. Biofilms have, however, also found useful employment in environmental biotechnology (wastewater treatment, immobilization of heavy metals in soil). Thus, an understanding of biofilms would have far-reaching repercussions.

The role of motility in the inception, growth and maturation of biofilms is still largely unknown. The primary goal of this project is to understand at the fundamental level the mechanisms that lead to the formation of biofilms. The successful candidate will develop and use mathematical modelling to develop novel numerical algorithms and theories to predict and understand these mechanisms.
Loughborough University is a top-ten rated university in England for research intensity (REF2014).

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For information regarding Department of Mathematical Sciences see -

Full Project Detail

A three-year PhD studentship supervised by Dr Marco G. Mazza in “Modelling of biofilm inception” is available at Loughborough University. The student will be a member of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Mathematical Modelling and the Department of Mathematical Sciences. This project will investigate how a swimming cell in an aqueous environment transitions to a sessile state upon interacting with a solid boundary. Both physical and biological processes need to be accounted for to properly model this process.

You will be working in a collaborative and interdisciplinary environment and will become familiar with a range of modelling techniques. You will develop mathematical models and algorithms to understand how physical forces and biological behaviour influence a biofilm.
We are looking for an excellent, enthusiastic and self-motivated student, who is interested in mathematical modelling of the behaviour of microorganisms. Candidates with a strong mathematics or physics background but with little or no experience in programming must demonstrate a willingness to learn.

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Entry requirements

Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in Mathematics, Physics or related subject. A relevant Master’s degree and/or experience in one or more of the following will be an advantage: Statistical physics, hydrodynamics, condensed matter physics, stochastic processes, molecular dynamics simulations, programming with C/C++, CUDA, python.

How to apply

All applications should be made online at Under programme name, select ‘Mathematical Sciences’.

Please quote reference number: MM/MA/2019.

Funding Notes

This studentship will be awarded on a competitive basis to applicants who have applied to this project and/or any of the advertised projects prioritised for funding by the School of Science.

The 3-year studentship provides a tax-free stipend of £14,777 (2018 rate) per annum (in line with the standard research council rates) for the duration of the studentship plus tuition fees at the UK/EU rate. International (non-EU) students may apply however the total value of the studentship will be used towards the cost of the International tuition fee in the first instance.

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