About the Project
Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) are a family of human made chemicals used by industry as part of stain- and water-resistant fabrics, cleaning products, paints, fire-fighting foams and in cookware. They are pollutants of increasing concern as they are now commonly found in waterbodies largely due to industrial waste emissions. PFAS are also highly persistent in the environment and accumulate in fish, birds, plants and animals. PFAS are linked to formation of cancer and organ damage. They are associated with negative impacts on the development of children. Currently PFAS is removed from waters using physical processes which do not, for example, clean contaminated sediments and which generate large volumes of waste that need costly disposal. This studentship will aim to remove PFAS from water and sediment using microbes that can breakdown PFAS in situ through a process known as biotransformation which will be more effective, while reducing both cost and wastes generated.
The main AIM is to exploit the use of microorganisms to clear PFAS from PFAS-contaminated waters. The specific OBJECTIVES are to: (1) Collect water and aquatic annelids samples from Scottish freshwater and estuarine environments; (2) Identify microbial communities from the water & sediment samples able to biotransform PFAS; (3) Microcosm study of biotransformation of PFAS.
A good undergraduate degree (in Molecular/Cell Biology or related disciplines) and/or an M.Sc. (or appropriate lab experience) is recommended for this very highly competitive programme.
Initial shortlisting will take place immediately after the 8th January deadline. Those candidates who are successful in shortlisting will be required to attend an online IAPETUS interview on Tuesday 16th February 2021.
UKRI eligibility rules enable a small proportion of IAPETUS PhD studentships to be awarded to non-UK applicants from overseas; applicants from overseas should contact the lead supervisor to discuss this.
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