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PhD Studentship in Microbiology and Antibiotics Research - Membrane-adaptive Processes in Bacterial Resistance against Antibiotics and Host Immunity

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  • Full or part time
    Dr H Strahl von Schulten
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Number of awards

Start date and duration
28 September 2020 (3 Year PhD)

Bacterial cell membranes are the target for some of our clinically most relevant last-resort antibiotics including Daptomycin, PolymyxinB and Colistin used to treat life-threatening multidrug resistant infections. Bacterial membranes are also the primary target of host defence peptides forming a key component of our innate antibacterial immunity. Worryingly, however, bacteria can adapt their membrane lipid composition thereby giving rise to increased resistance. In this joint project between the Strahl (Centre for Bacterial Cell Biology, Biosciences Institute) and Brodlie (Children’s Respiratory Group, Translational and Clinical Research Institute) -labs, we will analyse how adaptation of membrane lipid composition allows bacteria to develop resistance towards membrane-targeting antibiotics and host defence peptides. For this aim, we will be using the Gram-positive and -negative model organism Bacillus subtilis and Escherichia coli, respectively. Moreover, we will study how this process allows bacteria to evade immunity and cause infectious diseases. Here, we will focus on the lung disease Cystic Fibrosis (CF) and study why CF patients are more vulnerable to respiratory infections caused by the opportunistic pathogens Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The research programme provides an exceptionally broad training in state-of-the-art methods in microbiology, cell biology and antibiotic research including fluorescence microscopy and tissue culture work.

Newcastle University

Name of supervisor(s)
Dr Henrik Strahl (, Biosciences Institute (

Dr Malcolm Brodlie (, Translational and Clinical Research Institute (

Eligibility Criteria
You must have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree in Microbiology, Biochemistry, Biophysics or a related area. A further qualification such as an MRes is advantageous.

This award is available to UK/EU and international applicants.

How to apply
You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application system. To do this please ‘Create a new account’ (

Only mandatory fields need to be completed. However, you will need to include the following information:

insert the programme code 8300F* in the programme of study section
select ‘PhD in the Faculty of Medical Sciences – Biosciences as the programme of study
insert the studentship code BI014 in the studentship/partnership reference field
attach a covering letter and CV. The covering letter must state the title of the studentship, quote the studentship reference code BI014 and state how your interests and experience relate to the project
attach degree transcripts and certificates and, if English is not your first language, a copy of your English language qualifications

* The online application system will only allow one application using the programme code 8300F. If you are applying for TWO or more projects using that code then you will need to email our Postgraduate Admissions Service ([Email Address Removed]) with the following information:

your application number (from the first project application that you submitted online)
the second studentship code and its corresponding title
a two page covering letter for the second project

Our Postgraduate Admissions Service ( will then forward this information to the relevant selector in the Faculty of Medical Sciences.

Dr Henrik Strahl
E-mail: [Email Address Removed]
Twitter: @HenrikStrahl

Funding Notes

100% of UK/EU tuition fees paid and annual living expenses of £15,285 (full award). A partial award covers fees at the UK/EU rate only.

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