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PhD Studentship: In Biology - Smart Materials for Plant Health: Passive Monitoring of Viruses and Viral Vectors

Newcastle University

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: £17,668 (2022-23 UKRI rate)
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 14th December 2022
Closes: 31st January 2023
Reference: SNES239

Award Summary

100% home fees covered and a minimum tax-free annual living allowance of £17,668 (2022-23 UKRI rate).

Overview

Viruses, and their vectors, pose a serious threat to global agricultural systems. Losses associated with viral diseases are estimated at €15b to €45b per year. Central to effective biosecurity are surveillance and diagnostics. Our interest is in passive monitoring systems characterised by easy-to-use protocols, low fabrication and operational cost, and full in field functionality. These platforms should be capable of rapid re-programming to emerging targets. 

The PhD candidate will design molecular cascades capable of identifying target viruses and viral vectors. You will experimentally test designs for sensitivity and specificity. You will be trained in mathematical modelling of biological systems and in the use of statistical Design of Experiments. By coupling these skills with pipetting robotics available in our laboratory, you will rapidly test, understand and optimise molecular performance. Further, you will take advantage of our expertise in embedding cell-free molecular biology reactions in physical chassis to develop multifunctional materials. 

In collaboration with Fera Ltd. you will employ a user co-design framework to understand the requirements of the device in real world situations. You will consult with potential end users and the outcome of these discussions will directly inform technology development. 

Number Of Awards

1

Start Date

18th September 2023

Award Duration

3 Years

Application Closing Date

31st January 2023

Sponsor

Institute for Agri-Food Research Innovations (IAFRI) & Newcastle University (NU)

Supervisors

Thomas Howard, Jem Stach (NU), Adrian Fox, Jenny Tomlinson and Catherine Harrison (Fera) 

Eligibility Criteria

You must have, or expect to gain, a minimum 2:1 Honours degree or international equivalent in Molecular biology, Biochemistry, Synthetic biology, Plant Science, Microbiology or similar.   

Applicants whose first language is not English require an IELTS score of 6.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in all sub-skills.

The studentship covers fees at the Home rate (UK and EU applicants with pre-settled/settled status and meet the residency criteria). International applicants are welcome to apply but will be required to cover the difference between Home and International fees.

International applicants may require an ATAS (Academic Technology Approval Scheme) clearance certificate prior to obtaining their visa and to study on this programme. 

How To Apply

You must apply through the University’s Apply to Newcastle Portal 

Once registered select ‘Create a Postgraduate Application’.  

Use ‘Course Search’ to identify your programme of study:  

  • Search for the ‘Course Title’ using the programme code:8020F
  • Research area Environmental Science
  • Select PhD Biology (Full-Time) – Environmental Science as the programme of study 

You will then need to provide the following information in the ‘Further Questions’ section:  

  • A ‘Personal Statement’ (this is a mandatory field) - upload a document or write a statement directly in to the application form  
  • The studentship code SNES239 in the ‘Studentship/Partnership Reference’ field  
  • When prompted regarding your research proposal - select ‘Write Proposal’. You should then type in the title of the research project from this advert. You do not need to upload a research proposal.  

Contact Details

For further information please contact: Thomas.Howard@newcastle.ac.uk and include ‘IAFRI PhD’ in the email subject line.

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