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PhD Studentship: Toward a Low-cost, Rapid Point-of-care Biosensor for Detection of Antibiotic Resistant Urinary Tract Infections

University of Plymouth

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Plymouth
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: £15,609
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 20th September 2021
Closes: 19th October 2021

Director of Studies: Dr Tina Joshi > (

2nd Supervisor (

3rd Supervisor (

Applications are invited for a three-year PhD studentship available at the Dr Tina Joshi group, School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Plymouth, U.K.

The studentship will start on 1st January 2022.

Project Description

By 2050 it is estimated that 10 million people worldwide will die as a result of being infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) crisis has led researchers and governments to accelerate research globally, with a strong emphasis on innovative solutions such as diagnostics. In the UK ~70% of all antibiotics are prescribed in the community and 23% of these are unnecessary. Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs), usually caused by uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC), are the most common cause of over prescribing. Antibiotic stewardship and rationalisation of antibiotic prescribing practices are key to reducing unnecessary use of antibiotics during initial patient diagnosis. This project is devoted to the development of an innovative and rapid point-of-care diagnostic to guide antibiotic prescribing for UTIs and reduce inappropriate antibiotic use.

This interdisciplinary project will focus on development, design and clinical validation of a biosensor assay specifically for UTIs using molecular probes. Molecular probes will be integrated into a state-of-the-art graphene-based biosensing system being developed by our industrial partner and will be validated against clinical samples in collaboration with clinicians. This PhD studentship is at the interface between engineering, materials science and microbiology, potentially contributing to a new era of precision medicine to improve patient care and public health.

The PhD candidate will collaborate with researchers and industry across this range of disciplines, and develop a unique multidisciplinary skill set that will encompass phenotypic microbiology, microbial genomics and bioinformatics, imaging, molecular microbiology and biophysical techniques. We are an inclusive, diverse laboratory and welcome all applications.


Applicants should have a first or upper second class honours degree in an appropriate subject and preferably a relevant Masters qualification.

The studentship is supported for 3 years and includes full Home tuition fees plus a stipend of £15,609 per annum (2021/22 rate). The studentship will only fully fund those applicants who are eligible for Home fees with relevant qualifications. Applicants normally required to cover International fees will have to cover the difference between the Home and the International tuition fee rates (approximately £12,697 per annum).

If you wish to discuss this project further informally, please feel free to contact Dr Tina Joshi at

For further information on research studentships at the University of Plymouth and to apply for this position please visit: and select the studentship you would like to apply for. Please clearly state the name of the studentship that you are applying for on your personal statement.

Please see here for a list of supporting documents to upload with your application.

For more information on the admissions process generally, please contact

The closing date for applications is 12 noon on Tuesday 19th October 2021. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview week beginning 8th November 2021, with the interview date planned for Friday 12th November 2021.

We regret that we may not be able to respond to all applications. Applicants who have not received a response within six weeks of the closing date should consider their application has been unsuccessful on this occasion.

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