Funded PhD: Novel light-activated antimicrobial molecules and materials for multidrug-resistant pathogens

This project will focus on the investigation of a new class of antimicrobial molecules and materials for healthcare-associated infections, such as wound or device-related infection.

Project description

A PhD scholarship based at RCSI’s Education and Research Centre adjacent to Beaumont Hospital Dublin, the project is part of a broader research programme led by Principal Investigators in the Department of Clinical Microbiology, RCSI and The Department of Chemical Sciences, Dublin City University.

Healthcare associated infections are those acquired by patients while receiving medical treatment. They include wound infection and deep-seated infection involving in-dwelling medical devices such as catheters or pacemakers. These infections are increasingly difficult to manage and treat effectively with antibiotics as they frequently involve antimicrobial resistant (AMR) pathogens. Therefore, new antibacterial agents with alternative mechanisms of action to those currently in use are urgently needed.

We have developed candidate molecules that kill bacteria when activated by a light source. Our goal is to further develop these molecules and to evaluate their antimicrobial spectrum, antimicrobial mechanism, anti-biofilm properties and selective toxicity to bacteria that are critical or high-priority pathogens, as defined by the World Health Organisation. The molecules will be evaluated for topical applications that require antimicrobial materials or coatings and applications requiring aqueous topical solutions.

We are seeking a highly motivated PhD scholar to join our research team. The successful scholar will be well-supported in a multidisciplinary supervisory team of chemists, microbiologists and clinicians with expertise and an established track record in infection epidemiology and novel anti-infectives development.

This project is funded by Science Foundation Ireland.

Tenure: 4 years


Minimum requirements:

  • At least a 2.1 degree in microbiology or a related discipline
  • Excellent communication skills
  • For applicants whose first language is not English – a high level of competence in the language must be demonstrated by completing an English language competency test prior to applying for a programme (IELTS score 6.5 or higher)

Desirable candidate specifications include:

  • Laboratory experience in working with bacteria
  • An interest in pharmaceutical sciences

Important dates

  • Closing date for applications is 17.00 GMT on 24 July 2020
  • Shortlisting will take place on 31 July 2020
  • Interviews take place from 2-7 August 2020
  • The position will begin in October 2020

Please note:

  • It is the candidate’s responsibility to ensure the application form is completed in full on time. Late and/or incomplete applications will not normally be assessed.
  • Unfortunately, we are unable to provide individual feedback to applicants.
  • Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview. Successful candidates will be able to attend a virtual interview if they wish.
  • At this stage only successful candidates will be contacted to submit, CV, transcripts and other relevant documentation.
  • Only their referees will also be contacted at this stage for a reference.