Fully Funded Studentship Stress-relieving sugars and bacterial pathogenesis (BORNEMANN_J14DTP)

Deadline:  29 November 2013. Available from 1 October 2014. 

Supervisor: Dr Stephen Bornemann


The Project:

This studentship will define the role of α-glucan in the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Capsular α-glucans are already known to coat mycobacteria and are important contributors to human immune evasion.

We have recently identified the GlgE metabolic pathway that contributes to the biosynthesis of this capsular α-glucan. Interestingly, the glgE pathway genes exist in 14% of sequenced bacterial genomes but the role of α-glucans in organisms other than mycobacteria is not known. Another notable pathogenic bacterium that possesses these genes is P. aeruginosa. Our working hypothesis is that GlgE α-glucan contributes to the tolerance of P. aeruginosa to environmental stresses. Thus, α-glucan would complement trehalose, which is not only the precursor of α-glucan biosynthesis but is also known to enhance tolerance to osmotic stress. The student will use a combination of bacterial genetics, biochemistry and plant pathogenesis to study the role that α-glucan plays in stress tolerance, particularly in the context of biofilms and plant pathogenesis.

The work will be carried out in the laboratories of Stephen Bornemann, Jake Malone and Cyril Zipfel that span the Biological Chemistry and Molecular Microbiology Departments of the John Innes Centre and the Sainsbury Laboratory. This research is not only relevant to plant crops, but also to human disease because P. aeruginosa is not only a significant source of hospital-acquired infections but is also the most abundant infective species isolated from the cystic fibrosis lung.

Also Read  Doctoral Candidate (PhD Student) in Physics (M/F)

Entry Requirements:

2:1 or 2:2 plus Masters. English Language – IELTS 6.5 overall with 6 in each category. 

Funding for PhD studentships from BBSRC is available to successful candidates who meet the UK Research Council eligibility criteria including the 3-year UK residency requirements. These requirements are detailed in the BBSRC eligibility guidelines:


In most cases UK and EU nationals who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the course are eligible for a full-award. Other EU nationals may qualify for a fees only award. All candidates should check to confirm their eligibility for funding.

The current stipend for 2013/14 is £13,726 per annum.

Making Your Application:

For further information and to apply, please visit the ‘How to Apply’ page on our website: http://biodtp.norwichresearchpark.ac.uk/how-to-apply

Additional Information:

In keeping with the postgraduate training policy of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) all students recruited onto this programme will be required to undertake a three months internship during the second or third year of their study. The internship will offer exciting and invaluable experience of work in an area outside of research, and full support and advice will be provided by a professional team from the UEA.

This project has been shortlisted for funding by the Norwich Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) – a collaboration between the Norwich Biosciences Institutes and the University of East Anglia. Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed as part of the Studentship Competition. The interview dates will be the 14th and 15th January 2014.

Also Read  PhD Studentship: Investigating the quality of the passenger experience in the UK and its effects on transport providers and policy makers

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *