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Using food product waste streams as a sustainable source of natural components capable of enhancing the efficacy of antibiotics against resistant bacteria

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  • Full or part time
    Dr O Kenny
    Dr Thomas Smyth
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

The continual emergence of antibiotic resistant organisms represents one of the greatest modern day challenges to mankind. The increased incidences of resistant strains, particularly in healthcare settings, often results in the prolonged treatment of patients. Additionally, the economic burden associated with the antibiotic resistant bacteria is on the rise. The challenge is of such importance that every country in the EU has developed strategies in an attempt to control the further acceleration of antimicrobial resistance. However, once a micro-organism becomes resistant to one or more antibiotics, they do not respond to therapy. Providing an alternative means of microbial inactivation or a means of reducing microbial resistance is vital to overcoming this potentially critical situation.
The project aims to identify and assess phytochemicals from natural products and food waste streams for their potential to increase the efficacy of existing antibiotics, and/ or evade antimicrobial resistance mechanisms amongst selected microbial species. Such phytochemicals act as ‘modifying agents’ working in conjunction with the antimicrobial agent to circumvent bacterial resistance, thus resulting in bacterial cell death. Reducing bacterial resistance to antibiotics has significant potential in reducing the MIC necessary for microbial death and preventing the emergence of other resistant bacterial strains.

Applicants should hold a first or upper second class Honours B.Sc. degree in; microbiology, food science, pharmaceutical science, biomedical sciences, biochemistry or a related discipline.
Applicants should possess strong skills in; quantitative data analysis, scientific communication and report writing, organisation and problem solving.
Applicants should possess the following competencies; ability to work autonomously, highly self-motivated and ability to meet deadlines.


Applicants should send a cover letter, justifying their suitability for the position, along with a copy of their CV to the following email address; [Email Address Removed]

Funding Notes

Bursaries have two elements:
a.Maintenance grant €13,000 p.a.
b.Tuition fees (currently €819 p.a.) will be paid by the Institute for all holders of student bursaries. Students are liable for their registration fee. The registration fee for 2019-2020 8 is €3,000 p.a. This will be deducted from maintenance grant, with the balance - €10k paid directly to the awardee’s account, monthly. Annual Award: €13,819
A further allocation for consumables may be made, on a case-by-case basis, up to €2k p/a for desk-based projects and €4k p/a for laboratory/field based projects, available for drawdown during the bursary period, but no later.



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