Back to search results

PhD Studentship: Stereoisomerism of antimicrobial agents and risks to freshwater ecosystems

University of Bath - Chemistry

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Bath
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: £14,777 annual stipend (2018/19 rate) + Home tuition fees + training support grant
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 11th October 2018
Closes: 17th December 2018

Lead supervisor: Professor Barbara Kasprzyk-Hordern, Department of Chemistry, University of Bath, email

Co-supervisors:   Dr William Gaze (University of Exeter), Ms Ruth Barden (Wessex Water), Professor Jason Snape (Astra Zeneca)

This project is one of a number that are in competition for funding from the NERC Centre for Doctoral Training in Freshwater Biosciences and Sustainability (GW4 FRESH CDT) which is offering 12 studentships for entry in September/October 2019.

Full Project Description

The risk of promotion of antibiotic resistant bacteria is the greatest human health concern with regards to medicinal products. The continuous introduction of sub-inhibitory quantities of antimicrobial agents (AAs) to the environment is directly linked with antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Unfortunately, there is little understanding of mechanisms due to the multi-dimensional nature of the AMR problem. Surprisingly, the environmental fate and biological effects of AAs are assessed without considering their stereoisomeric forms (this is despite our knowledge on isomer dependent toxicity, taking thalidomide as a prime example). Such an approach leads to the incorrect verification of biological effects of AAs and direct risk to the environment and human health

This FRESH CDT studentship will focus on understanding of the impact stereoisomerism of antimicrobial agents might have on biological effects linked with ecotoxicity and  the development of AMR in freshwater ecosystems. The project will address above via the three main objectives: 

Objective 1. To understand the mechanisms of transformation of chiral antimicrobial agents in the environment at both nanocosm, microcosm and macrocosm scale.

Objective 2. To verify how stereoselective processes of AAs in the environment are associated with the higher prevalence of specific resistant strains of bacteria.

Objective 3. To undertake environmental risk assessment of AAs in the Avon Catchment.

The research student will receive training in a range of modern analytical and bioanalytical techniques including state-of-the-art chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry techniques, digital PCR technology and bioassays. In addition, he/she will work with the leading water utility company in the UK, Wessex Water as well as leading pharmaceutical company, Astra Zeneca. Furthermore, he/she will join interdisciplinary teams at the University of Bath, and Exeter with substantial research expertise in the area and excellent research infrastructure. Experience of academic / industrial research, interdisciplinary and international working and development of legislation and water policy, will provide an exciting opportunity for further professional development.

What expertise you will develop

  1. Expertise in advanced bioanalytical techniques
  2. Skills in ecotoxicology, microbial ecology, environmental and water sciences
  3. Operational understanding of the UK water industry and regulatory systems


Studentships cover Home tuition fees, training support grant and stipend (£14,777 p/a, 2018/19 rate) and are open to UK/EU applicants who have been resident in the UK since September 2016.


Applicants must have obtained, or be about to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in an area appropriate to the skills requirements of the project.

In order to apply, you should apply direct to the CDT using online application form.  See


You do NOT need to apply to the University of Bath at this stage – only those applicants who are successful in obtaining an offer of funding from the CDT will be required to submit an application to study at Bath. 

We value your feedback on the quality of our adverts. If you have a comment to make about the overall quality of this advert, or its categorisation then please send us your feedback
Advert information

Type / Role:

Subject Area(s):


PhD tools
More PhDs from University of Bath

Show all PhDs for this organisation …

More PhDs like this
Join in and follow us

Browser Upgrade Recommended has been optimised for the latest browsers.

For the best user experience, we recommend viewing on one of the following:

Google Chrome Firefox Microsoft Edge