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The biology and biotechnological potential of marine fungi bioprocessing, PhD in Biosciences Studentship (BBSRC SWBio DTP funded)

College of Life and Environmental Sciences

Dr M Allen , Dr M Cunliffe Monday, December 07, 2020 Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

The SWBio DTP is one of the 12 Doctoral Training Partnerships funded by the BBSRC to provide PhD training in areas of their strategic relevance. The SWBio DTP is a consortium comprising the Universities of Bristol (lead), Bath, Cardiff, Exeter, and Rothamsted Research. Together, these institutions present a distinctive cadre of bioscience research staff and students with established international, national and regional networks and widely recognised research excellence.

The aim of this DTP is to produce highly motivated and excellently trained postgraduates in the BBSRC priority areas of Agriculture & Food Security (AFS) and World-Class Underpinning Bioscience (WCUB). These are growth areas of the biosciences and for which there will be considerable future demand.

The award:

This project is one of a number that are in competition for funding from the South West Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (SWBio DTP).

Project Description:

Fungi are generally well-established bioprocessors with the ability to degrade and assimilate a broad range of biomass substrates and subsequently produce a wide variety of valuable biological resources. Marine fungi represent a novel and currently understudied resource for bioprocessing, both in terms of their fundamental underpinning biology and biotechnological applications.

This PhD project will explore and study the bioprocessing potential of marine fungi from the recently established marine fungi culture collection at the Marine Biological Association (MBA) in Plymouth. Over 350 yeast and hyphal strains are available from a range of temperate and polar marine environments, including the deep open ocean and sea ice.

In summary, the PhD project will screen the marine fungi culture collection, using a high-throughput approach, identifying specific fungal strain and substrate combinations of interest. The strain/substrates combinations will be studied in terms of underpinning biological mechanisms (e.g. substrate attachment and enzyme production) and potential biotechnological application (e.g. biomolecule production).

The PhD student will be able to utilise a broad range of opportunities available between the supervisory team, such as the marine fungi culture and imaging facilities at the MBA and biotechnological/bioprocessing experience and skills at Bath and Exeter/PML. The PhD student will also be encouraged and supported to engage with other relevant initiatives, including the BBSRC Networks in Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy (e.g. EBNet: Environmental Biotechnology Network).

Funding Notes

BBSRC SWBio DTP funded CASE studentship available for September 2021 entry. The studentship will provide funding of fees and a stipend which is currently £15,285 per annum for 2020-21, on a full time basis.

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