PhD studentship in Structural Microbiology – “C. difficile S-layer variation: from structure to role in disease”

   Biosciences Institute

  Prof P Salgado  Monday, July 01, 2024  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Award summary 

100% home tuition fees + annual stipend (living expenses) starting at £19,237. International candidates must fund the difference to international fees. 


Are you passionate about combating antimicrobial resistance? Do you want to contribute to ground breaking research that spans continents and scientific disciplines? We invite applications for a fully-funded PhD studentship on the structural biology, microbiology, and infection of an important antimicrobial-resistant superbug – C. difficile. This unique opportunity allows you to work with leading experts in the UK and Australia, fostering international collaboration and interdisciplinary research. 

C. difficile is the most frequent cause of hospital acquired infections worldwide and new, species-specific, antimicrobials are needed. C. difficile’s cell is coated by a crystalline protein surface layer which is a promising but unexploited target for new therapeutics. We recently revealed the structure of this S-layer and now want to determine how its variability affects the S-layer structure and impacts disease.  

Salgado lab (UK, y1-2) - structural and functional characterisation of S-layer variants using protein crystallography, cryoEM/ET, and genetics.  

Lyras lab (Australia, y3) - infection experiments to define how S-layer variation influences colonisation, infection, and disease outcomes.  

This work will define the link between the S-layer and pathogenicity in C. difficile, paving the way for new therapeutic avenues. 

You work alongside fellow PhD students and postdocs at Newcastle University, and access Diamond Light Source's cutting-edge facilities. Your final year at Monash University will offer exposure to diverse expertise, research environments, and outstanding facilities. Regular meetings with supervisory teams will ensure continuous support and training.  

Find out more about the Salgado and Lyras labs or get in touch via Twitter/X @pssalgado, @LyrasLab, Mastodon @ or BSky  

Number of awards 

Start date  


Award duration 

Funding for 3 years: 2y, Newcastle University, UK + 1y, Monash University, Australia  

Application closing date 



Newcastle/Monash University 

Name of supervisor/s  

Professor Paula Salgado (UK) 

Professor Dena Lyras (Australia) 

Eligibility Criteria 

You must have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 honours degree or international equivalent, in a subject relating to biomedical sciences (biochemistry, microbiology, chemical biology or similar). Further qualification such as an MRes is advantageous.  

Fully funded for applicants with a Home fee status (UK/ EU applicants with (pre-)settled status). International applicants considered if they can fund difference to international fees. English Language: IELTS >6.5. 

How to apply 

You must apply through the University’s Apply to Newcastle Portal   

Registered, select ‘Create a Postgraduate Application’.  

Search for ‘Course Title’ in ‘Course Search’ using the programme code 8420F, leave the ‘Research Area' field blank, select ‘PhD Biosciences (FT)' as programme of study. 

In the ‘Further Details’ section please provide: 

  • a ‘Personal Statement’ – include studentship title and reference BI086. Upload as a document or a statement directly in to the application form.  

• the studentship code BI086 in the ‘Studentship/Partnership Reference’ field  

• when prompted for how you are providing your research proposal - select ‘Write Proposal’ and type in the title of the research project above (you do not need to upload a research proposal). 

• upload your CV in the ‘Supporting Documentation’ section 

Contact Details 

Professor Paula S. Salgado 

NUBI, Newcastle University, UK  


Professor Dena Lyras 

Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute 

Monash University, Australia 


Biological Sciences (4)
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