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Targeting oral biofilms for improved oral health

Biological Sciences

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Prof J Webb , Prof P Stoodley No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

This is an exciting opportunity for a highly motivated and creative student with a background in microbiology or related areas. You will be joining a dynamic and multidisciplinary team investigating the role of biofilms in oral health.

Oral biofilms are complex structured communities of microbial cells that are attached to various surfaces, including teeth, gingiva, tongue, and palate. Mondelēz is interested in developing fundamental understanding of oral biofilms in relation to their initiation, structure, interactions between community members so as to identify technological approaches to modulate these biofilms to help avoid undesirable effects. The development of robust model systems to test oral treatments and understand modes of action is viewed as a critical first step. Understanding the mechanical aspects of chewing gum and its impact on biofilms is an area on which limited information exists, but has a potential for a high impact, especially when combined with other effectors.

Project aims:

Develop multispecies biofilm model systems that can be used to understand community structure, dynamics and mechanistic studies;
Investigation of biofilm modulators that will either individually or synergistically disrupt biofilms;
Understanding the molecular modes of action of selected modulators, including biofilm host interactions.

This project is part of the BBSRC-funded Mondelez International CTP (a major food manufacturer with iconic brands such as Cadbury, Trident, Halls, BelVita, Oreo and Milka), in partnership with the Norwich Research Park DTP and the KTN. The student would be based at the University of Southampton, part of the newly-created National Biofilm Innovation Centre (https://biofilms.ac.uk/) and spend at least three months at Mondelez International understanding how academic research is translated into a commercial environment. As part of a dispersed cohort of students within the Mondelez CTP, the student would also have the opportunity to share experiences with students at other academic hosts. http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/skills/investing-doctoral-training/collaborative-training-partnerships/

Applicants should have a degree in Microbiology, Biological Sciences or related discipline, ideally an understanding of continuous culture and bioreactors, and demonstrate an interest in learning and working across disciplines in order to understand how their research impacts on mechanical aspects of oral health.

The student would receive training in across microbiology, advanced confocal imaging, meta-‘omics technology and many other practical skills. The successful applicant will benefit from the combined expertise of research groups at University of Southampton and Mondelez, as well as a range of other training opportunities, including engagement with engineering disciplines, making this project the perfect springboard for a future interdisciplinary scientific career.

Funding Notes

Funding for this four year BBSRC and industrially co-funded PhD studentship is available to UK and EU nationals who meet the UK residency requirements. Students from EU countries who do not meet the UK residency requirements may still be eligible for a fees-only award. Further details on eligibility for funding can be found on the BBSRC website: http://www.rcuk.ac.uk/documents/news/terms-and-conditions-of-research-council-training-grants/

The studentship offers a stipend enhancement of £1,000/yr), research costs and tuition fees at the UK/EU rate.


Applications for Biological Sciences should be submitted online at:
https://studentrecords.soton.ac.uk/BNNRPROD/bzsksrch.P_Login?pos=4973&majr=4973&term=201819 Please place Jeremy Webb’s name in the field for proposed supervisor.

Interviews will be held 24th or 25th April 2018.

General enquiries should be made to Paul Stoodley or Jeremy Webb at: P.stoodley@soton.ac.uk, j.s.webb@soton.ac.uk

Any queries on the application process should be made to pgafnes@soton.ac.uk

The University of Southampton and Biological Sciences both hold an Athena Swan Silver & Bronze Award, respectively, demonstrating their commitment to provide equal opportunities and to advance the representation of women in STEM/M subjects: science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine. Due consideration will be given to applicants who have taken a career break. University benefits include onsite childcare facilities, state-of-the-art on-campus sports, arts and culture facilities, a full programme of events and a range of staff discounts.
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