PhD Studentship: Modular Metabolic Engineering for Bio-Based Commodity Chemicals Production from Gases

Loughborough University

Start date: 1st April 2018

Closing date: 1st February 2018

Interview date: 7th February 2018

Supervisors:

Primary supervisor: Dr. Ahsan Islam

Secondary supervisor: Dr. Brahim Benyahia

Intro (standard):

Loughborough University is a top-ten rated university in England for research intensity (REF2014) and an outstanding 66% of the work of Loughborough’s academic staff who were eligible to be submitted to the REF was judged as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’, compared to a national average figure of 43%.

In choosing Loughborough for your research, you’ll work alongside academics who are leaders in their field. You will benefit from comprehensive support and guidance from our Graduate School, including tailored careers advice, to help you succeed in your research and future career.

Find out more: www.lboro.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/supporting-you/research

Project Detail:

A PhD studentship is available in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Loughborough University from 1st April 2018 on a project titled “Modular Metabolic Engineering for Bio-Based Commodity Chemicals Production from Gases”.

Commodity chemicals (e.g., ethylene, propylene, ethylene glycol, and acrylic acid) are the building blocks of modern society due to their extensive use in myriad consumer products. Because almost all of these compounds are currently produced from petroleum, they are mainly known as petrochemicals. However, production of commodity chemicals from petroleum is not only unsustainable but also damaging to the environment in the long run; unsustainable due to continuous depletion of petroleum sources and damaging due to the emission of harmful green house gases, including carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO), nitrous oxide (N2O), and methane (CH4), during the production of petrochemicals. Thus, the overarching goal of this project is to develop an integrated bioprocess to convert these harmful gases into value-added commodity chemicals by the application of metabolic engineering and synthetic biology strategies. To this end, the project will specifically focus on achieving two main objectives: 1) construction of biochemical pathways that convert gases to the chemicals of interest, and 2) development of optimized microbial cell factories, i.e., bioprocesses that are capable of producing chemicals of interest using the constructed pathways.

Experience in mathematical modelling of biological systems and good programming skills in MATLAB, Perl/Python are strongly desirable although not a requisite.

Find out more:

www.lboro.ac.uk/departments/chemical/about/people/ahsanislam

Entry requirements:

Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in Bioengineering, Chemical Engineering, Applied Mathematics or a related subject. A relevant Master’s degree and/or experience in one or more of the following will be an advantage: bioinformatics, microbiology, biochemistry.

Funding information:

The studentship provides a tax free stipend of £14,553 per annum for the duration of the studentship plus tuition fees at the UK/EU rate. International (non EU) students may apply however the total value of the studentship will be used towards the cost of the International tuition fee in the first instance.

Please ensure that you are aware of any funding restriction attached to this studentship – particularly for Research Council funded positions.

Contact details:

Name: Dr. Ahsan Islam

Email address: m.islam@lboro.ac.uk

Telephone number: +44(0)1509 222517

How to apply:

All applications should be made online at www.lboro.ac.uk/study/apply/research. Under programme name, select Chemical Engineering

Please quote reference number: CG-AI-1725

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Type / Role:

PhD

Location(s):

Midlands of England