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Pseudomonas and Acanthamoeba in the Clinical Environment – the PACE study (PHDHLS192001)

Project Description

We are looking for a dynamic microbiologist to become involved in a study investigating the spread of bacteria and amoeba in the healthcare environment.

The environment of the hospital plays a critical role in the spread of infection and breaking the chain of infection is crucial to better patient care. Cleaning and disinfection are employed to break the chain of infection, yet still Pseudomonas aeruginosa persists and can cause serious infection and death.

You will work with academics and infection control practitioners to investigate the microbial ecology of the healthcare environment and how it relates to infection control. All rooms in healthcare settings are linked via the drinking water and wastewater systems, which are also the chief reservoirs of P. aeruginosa and protists, such as the amoeba Acanthamoeba. You will investigate the co-existence of these organisms both under controlled laboratory conditions and by undertaking field work at the Royal Hospital for Children (Glasgow). This work is funded by the Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity Research Fund and is a collaboration between University of the West of Scotland and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

The results of this important study will provide the NHS with a better understanding of the potential for amoebae to harbour and protect pathogens. On-site NHS environmental investigations will provide for the first time accurate data on the prevalence of Acanthamoeba in association with P. aeruginosa in a children’s hospital. Your ultimate aim will be to influence policy and practice around infection prevention and control to the ultimate benefit of people who are cared for at their most vulnerable time, in our hospitals.

Preferred start date of April/May 2020.

If you are interested in applying please contact Dr W Gordon Mackay ( by email () or phone (07828669984) for informal discussion.

Details of how to apply can be found here:

Further information about undertaking a research degree at University of the West of Scotland can be found here:

Funding Notes

The successful candidate will be registered as a MRes student at the University of the West of Scotland (details for funding support available at View Website and View Website.

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