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NERC ECORISC CDT Studentship - Advancing In Vitro Fish Models for Assessing Environmental Pharmaceutical Risk: Integrating Spatial-Temporal Kinetics of Pharmaceutical Uptake, Biotransformation, Metabolism, and Effect

   Cardiff School of Biosciences

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  Prof Peter Kille  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Cardiff United Kingdom Ecology Ecotoxicology Environmental Chemistry

About the Project

Project Outline

This interdisciplinary project will employ a multi-cellular and omic approach to characterised spatial-temporal kinetics of biotransformation, metabolism, and effect in a multi-component in vitro fish model. Cultured gill cells will be combined with liver organoids to mimic the absorption and metabolism properties of whole organisms facilitating more accurate environmental pharmaceutical risk assessment. The work will be based at Cardiff  University, but there will be opportunities to spend time working at the University of Exeter, AstraZeneca, Global Environment site at Alderley Park, Macclesfield and other collaborating laboratories.

The spatial-temporal imaging of transcript and metabolite changes will be used to resolve the specific cells impacted by parent compound, identify cells responsible for  biotransformation & characterise the production & effect of xenobiotic metabolites this generated. This multi-omics project will validate the use of multi-component in vitro model for predicting environmental pharmaceutical risk.

The student will become expert in state-of-the art spatial transcriptomic and targeted metabolomics together with the associated bioinformatics. Laboratory skills including in  vitro cell culture, a range of molecular approaches including qPCR & genetic manipulation, cellular imaging including sheet and confocal microscopy. All are fields at  the cutting edge of ecotoxicological research.

Over the first two years of their PhD programme, you will receive subject-specific training, in: i) ecotoxicology; ii) environmental chemistry; iii) ecology; and iv) risk assessment; and v) the core skills required for an environmental specialist. Successful completion of this training will result in the award of phase 1 of the Certified Environmental Risk Assessor qualification from the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. The formal training programme will be complemented by yearly residential challenge events, ECORISC annual conferences and tailored specialist skills training conducted as group and individual exercises.

ECORISC students will also be required to undertake two workplace experiences based with our business, policy and regulation, third sector, and research organisation partners. 

An inclusive CDT programme

Inclusivity is at the heart of the ECORISC programme. We strongly encourage applications from under-represented groups and are employing a number of mechanisms, such as the possibility of part-time working, to ensure the programme is open to all. If you have any questions, then please don’t hesitate to contact us at [Email Address Removed].

Eligibility and Application process

The studentships are open to highly motivated UK and international/EU applicants with at least an upper second class Honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject. Successful applicants will be passionate about environmental pollution science and want their science to make a difference. 

To be considered for this and other PhDs offered under the ECORISC CDT, you should initially complete a short online application form available at: Applications should be submitted before 17:00 GMT on Monday 3rd January 2022. You will be notified of the outcome of your initial application by Monday 17th January 2022.

Successful applicants will be provided with an opportunity to meet with supervisory teams and then be invited to submit a project-specific application form which will be used to shortlist candidates for an interview.

ECORISC open afternoon

We are running an online ‘open afternoon’ for you to learn more about the CDT or to ask questions on the programme or the application process. This event will run from 1400-1630 GMT on the 9th December 2021 and booking details can be found on our website at:

Funding Notes

This project is one of 22 projects being advertised by the NERC-funded ECORISC (Ecotoxicological Risk Assessment Towards Sustainable Chemical Use) Centre for Doctoral Training programme. More information on the CDT can be found at: Funding will be provided for 3 years and 10 months. During this time you will work on your research project but will also receive unique and outstanding training in pollution science and transferrable skills. Funding includes CASE stipend
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