About the Project
Many ingredients in the personal care and health care products, for example lipids, are derived from petroleum, animal fat or vegetable oil. Some petroleum-based cosmetics and skin care products are found to contain cancer-causing chemicals (e.g., 1,4-dioxane). The use of fish oil is tinted by heavy metal (e.g., mercury) or polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) contamination. Major beauty product companies are beginning to adapt to the increasing demand for animal-free or halal cosmetics, which contain only certified ingredients as adhering to Muslim rules. Similarly, there is an increasing demand for products that cater to vegetarians and vegans. Tighter regulation, compliance and market trend in this sector have prompted for the search for alternative ingredient sources that are both sustainable and economical, and do not compete with food source. Microbial oil, produced by oleaginous yeast cultivated under controlled environment, is potentially an excellent substitute. In this collaborative research, high-lipid producing yeast strains are characterized biochemically and engineered for production of three types of lipid: squalene, hydroxyl fatty acid and omega- 3/6 fatty acid. The project also looks at bioprocess strategy to maximize the lipid production from various feedstocks (e.g., industrial or agricultural waste).
The student will join the multi-disciplinary ChELSI institute and the newly established Advanced Biomanufacturing Centre (ABC) at the University of Sheffield, which is equipped with state-of-the-art research facilities. He/she will receive a broad training in molecular biology, protein engineering, synthetic biology, biophysics and chemical engineering. Further, he/she will engage with the Doctoral Development Programme designed to help developing specialist and transferable skills, which will enhance students’ research capability and employability.
This project is well suited to home and international students holding either a first or 2.1 degree (or equivalent) in chemical engineering, biochemical engineering, biotechnology, microbiology, biochemistry, molecular biology or related disciplines.
If English is not your first language, then you must have International English Language Testing Service (IELTS) average of 6.5 or above with at least 6.0 in each component.