Funded PhD Studentship Developing bacteria for the production of green fuels

Faculty of Science

Application Deadline: 31st July 2013. This studentship is available to start 1st October 2013.

Supervisory Team: Dr Tom Clarke

The Project:

The conversion of carbon dioxide (CO2) to fuel molecules, such as formic acid, presents an opportunity to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels while mitigating the risk of climate change. This project will explore the possibilities using the bacterium Shewanella oneidensis to form fuels from CO2. Shewanella oneidensis contains an enzyme capable of interconverting CO2 and formic acid (1). In addition. Shewanella oneidensis possesses the relatively unusual ability to conduct electrons across its outer membrane (2-5). As a consequence this project will establish the opportunities for wiring Shewanella oneidensis to electrodes, powered by solar or wind, that will provide the electrons needed to convert CO2 to formic acid.

This ambitious project will be supervised by Dr Tom Clarke and Prof Julea Butt in collaboration with colleagues at our industrial sponsor, Schlumberger. The successful applicant will join a vibrant BBSRC-funded research environment and in addition to excellent research potential will have a strong interest in microbial biotechnology and/or developing new routes to renewable energy. The project will provide excellent training in a range of methods including; bacterial growth, control of gene expression, enzyme assay, gas chromatography and electrochemistry. 

Entry Requirements:

A first or upper second class degree in Biological Sciences, Microbiology, Biochemistry or Chemistry or equivalent.

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This studentship will cover the cost of fees at the UK/EU rate and provide a stipend at the standard RCUK rate (currently £13,726). Non-EU students are welcome to apply but due to funding restrictions will be required to pay the difference between UK/EU and International fees.

Making your Application:

Please apply via the University’s online application system.

To discuss the application process please contact the Admissions Office, email:; telephone +44 (0)1603 591709.

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