PhD studentship @ Swansea University, UK


General description:
Research will be conducted under the direct supervision of
Dr. Thomas Wilkinson and Professor Samuel K. Sheppard, and based in the Department of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases at the College of Medicine of Swansea University (United Kingdom). The successful student will join a team of multi-disciplinary scientists working in the MRC Cloud Infrastructure for Microbial Bioinformatics (CLIMB) Centre and the BBSRC-funded medical mass spectrometry team.

Swansea University: Where bright futures begin

Project details:

  • Early and rapid detection of infection is a major goal of Clinical Microbiology. In particular an ability to differentiate between sepsis and other non-infectious causes of systemic inflammation such as Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (SIRS) is particularly pertinent as it will determine antibiotic administration. Recently, we and others have identified 25-hydroxycholesterol as an important inflammatory mediator regulating the production of pro-inflammatory IL-1 driven responses. To date these studies have linked inflammation with the antiviral interferon response. In this context less is known about 25-hydroxycholesterol and bacterial infection. This project will investigate whether major bacterial pathogens, including Staphylococcus aureus, Campylobacter and Escherichia coli generate unique metabolic signatures of 25-hydroxycholesterol and its degradation products. We will use the whole genome data of over 5,000 bacterial isolates organised in our online databases to select the major disease causing clones for host / pathogen whole blood modelling prior to Mass Spectrometry analysis of isolated sera.

The project will focus on two major areas of host pathogen interactions:

  • the cellular response of the organism and host;
  • the population genomics of microbes so that host responses specific to a species or evolutionary conserved lineages of pathogens can be identified.


  • Enthusiasm and practical experience in immunology, microbiology, molecular techniques and computer-based genetic analysis is necessary but training and support will be provided to strengthen these areas. The successful candidate will be highly motivated, creative, independent and have a good degree in immunology, molecular biology, microbiology, bioinformatics, genetics or ecology (BSc or MSc, 2:1 or 1st only). Previous experience in a molecular biology/immunology laboratory or in bioinformatics research is also strongly desirable. Good English writing and oral skills are essential.


The duration of the studentship is 3 years (2015-2018).

  • The position is open until filled, but a preferred deadline for application is 31st July 2015, to allow for registration to start in the Fall semester.
  • The position is fully open for UK and EU students.
  • Salary will be commensurate with regular UK postgraduate stipends, i.e. £13,863/year (~€18,425/year), tax-free.
  • Tuition fees are fully covered by the studentship.
  • Students will also have opportunities to attend national and international conferences during their candidature and a chance to compete for internal College of Medicine travel bursaries.


Please contact us via [email protected] for applications (please attach CV and describe motivation).

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