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What really happens to antibiotics: molecular simulations of realistically crowded bacterial cell envelope components.

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Application Deadline

Applications will be considered in the order that they are received, and the position will be considered filled when a suitable candidate has been identified.

The project: This is a 4-year PhD project, funded in collaboration with industry. It includes a one-year placement in Oxford, during which in-depth training will be provided in fundamental theory, software development, and computational chemistry simulations. This training will be delivered by academics from the Universities of Southampton and Oxford via the Centre for Doctoral Training in Theory and Modelling in the Chemical Sciences. Successful completion of year one will lead to the award of an Oxford MSc, and progression to a 3-year PhD research project, which will be based in Southampton for 1.5 years and the A*STAR research institute in Singapore for 1.5 years.

This project will offer a unique combination of experiences of three different institutions and is ideally suited to applicants who wish to make an impact in problems of real biological importance.

What really happens to antibiotics: molecular simulations of realistically crowded bacterial cell envelope components.

Bacteria that are harmful to humans, animals and plants are developing resistance to currently used antibiotics at an alarming rate. Consequently, there is an urgent need to develop novel, more effective antibiotics, whilst also seeking to develop strategies to prevent or slow down the onset of resistance in the future. The rational design of new antibiotics necessitates a thorough understanding of molecular-level events that occur inside the bacterium.

The goal of this PhD project is to characterise the dynamics within the cell envelope of Gram-negative bacteria on the microsecond timescale, using molecular simulations. The transformative aspect of the project is that realistic crowding of the cell envelope will be incorporated such that these will be the most detailed molecular models of this region of the bacterial cell to be reported, to date. Once the baseline behaviour has been characterised, further simulations will be performed to predict how the presence of selected antibiotics perturbs the dynamics. Ultimately, modifications to the antibiotics to give more desirable properties will be predicted and tested (via simulation).

This project will be carried out in the groups of Professor Syma Khalid at the University of Southampton and Dr Peter Bond at the A*STAR research institute. If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Professor Syma Khalid, Email: , Tel: +44 (0) 2380 594176

Candidate requirements:

Successful applicants to TMCS typically hold a first-class honours degree (or equivalent) in Chemistry, Biochemistry or a closely related discipline.


Project queries: Syma Khalid ()
TMCS queries :

Funding Notes

UK and EU applicants are eligible for full funding of fees for 4 years. In addition, UK citizens would receive an annual stipend. Applications are accepted from self-funded international applicants, but funding restricted to UK/EU applicants only.

How good is research at University of Southampton in Chemistry?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 44.80

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

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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