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PhD Studentship in Biosensors (Microbiology/Biotechnology/Related discipline)

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  • Full or part time
    Dr Joseph Sweeney
    Dr C D Murphy
    Prof Kevin McDonnell
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

LIFE Farm4More is an EU funded LIFE project led by UCD, that aims to generate novel animal feed products from novel biorefinery and biochar technologies that will allow for climate change mitigation in agricultural animal protein production, to be achieved. To achieve this goal, LIFE Farm4More will redefine how grass-silage and alternative input substrates are used in animal protein production by:

1.) Designing and operating climate mitigating optimal grass-silage fed-Green Biorefinery and biochar technologies.
2.) Produce climate mitigating optimal animal feeding strategies based on extensive animal feeding trials that will be performed on the biorefinery- and biochar- produced animal feed products,.
3.) Develop and apply climate mitigating optimal land management strategies for all biorefinery input substrates that will be sourced.


A biosensor technology which has been created in UCD to monitor and control grass-silage fed two-phase AD systems will be expanded upon to produce an automated monitoring and control system for LIFE Farm4More’s Green Biorefinery. The biosensor that will be created will be capable of detecting total-amino acids as well as an array of volatile fatty acids, generated at different stages within the biorefinery process. Real time detection and quantification of these analytes will allow for the automated monitoring and control system to be created.

Initially based in UCD and under the supervision of Prof. C Murphy with input from Prof K. McDonnell and Dr. Sweeney, the successful candidate will be trained on:
• biosensor creation and operation techniques
• The identification and screening of catabolic pathways capable of catabolising specific amino acids as well as D-, L- lactic acid and butyric acid, within numerous microorganisms;
• Genetically engineer specific microorganisms using a suite of genetic engineering techniques which will include Crispr Cas9, to create analyte specific biosensors
• Creating and deploying an automated monitoring and control system to the biorefinery plant situated in Austria

Relevant disciplines; To fulfil this role the candidate must have achieved a primary degree in Microbiology/Biochemistry or related discipline. Any additional computer programming/ Electronic engineering or microbial fuel cell experience, will be deemed advantageous

Funding Notes

Stipend: €18,000 per annum (+ contribution of fees up to €7,120 per annum)
PhD Duration: up to 4 years
Expected start date: September 2019

To apply please send your CV and cover letter detailing motivation and career plan. Applicants must also provide evidence that they meet the Minimum English Language Requirements for UCD http://www.ucd.ie/registry/admissions/elr.htm



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