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Understanding Biofilm Formation in the Domain Archaea


Project Description

Project details:

Biofilms - structured and organised microbial communities - represent one of the most successful forms of life. Bacterial biofilms have been studied extensively, and the processes governing their formation and development, and their function in natural, medical, and biotechnological settings have been described in detail. The recent discovery that members of the domain Archaea also form biofilms changed our understanding of how they interact with their environment, and created new potential biotechnological roles for these organisms. However, the study of archaeal biofilms is an emerging field, with many details still unknown. This project aims to identify factors influencing biofilm formation and development in this domain. Using the important model haloarchaeon Haloferax volcanii, a modified fluorescent H. volcanii strain, and environmental isolates, we will develop both culture- and microscope-based assays to assess the development of single and multispecies archaeal biofilms. These, in combination with more conventional assays, will be used to gain insight into the conditions which may trigger biofilm formation in various archaeal species (specific environmental conditions, cellular stress, interspecies interactions), and those which inhibit it. In doing so, we will also determine the optimal conditions for biofilm formation, which will be valuable in future studies of their biotechnological applications.

This project will be supervised by Dr Julianne Megaw of Queen’s University School of Biological Sciences and Professor Brendan Gilmore of Queen’s University School of Pharmacy.

Applications MUST be submitted through https://dap.qub.ac.uk/portal/user/u_login.php.

Specific skills/experience required by applicants:

Applicants should have some relevant experience with standard microbiological laboratory techniques. In particular, prior experience in the growth and assessment of microbial biofilms is preferred (but not essential).

All applicants must meet the academic entry requirements: https://www.qub.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate-research/biological-sciences-phd.html#entry

Funding Notes

Only UK and EU students are eligible to apply. Before applying, it is strongly recommended that you read the full information on eligibility criteria available from DfE: View Website.

Please note in particular that not all successful applicants may be eligible to receive a full studentship (i.e. fees and stipend) - please read in detail the Residency and Citizenship requirements in the document linked to above.

How good is research at Queen’s University Belfast in Public Health, Health Services and Primary Care?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 29.60

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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