Funded PhD Position: 

Metabolic engineering of bacteria to upcycle plastic waste to value added polymers and chemicals

Supervisors:

Dr Tanja Narancic - School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science and BiOrbic SFI Bioeconomy research centre, University College Dublin, Ireland.
Prof Kevin O’Connor - School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science and BiOrbic SFI Bioeconomy research centre, University College Dublin, Ireland.

Project description:

Plastics have contributed greatly to the ease of everyday life as a result of their large-scale utility and in particular through their global presence as packaging materials. Plastics used in food and drink packaging applications are made from a range of polymers, which are highly customised with specific additives to meet functional and/or aesthetic requirements. This diversity makes the end-of-life management challenging, ultimately resulting in materials being incinerated or disposed in landfills.
A H2020 project UPLIFT aims to develop and scale-up chemical- and bioprocesses to allow for the up-cycling of plastic packaging waste materials. The present study, which is integrative part of UPLIFT, focuses on transformative potential of bacteria to provide routes to convert plastics such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET) to biodegradable polymers of specific characteristics, as well as other valuable molecules. This will be achieved using systems biology and metabolic engineering approach.

Studentship details: Stipend of €20,400/year plus tuition fees for 4 years.  Only EU/EAA/UK residents should apply
Start date: 1st May 2021


Supervisor details:

Dr Tanja Narancic, UCD School of Biomolecular & Biomedical Science, University College Dublin, Ireland.
https://people.ucd.ie/tanja.narancic
https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=7N3JMUAAAAAJ&hl=en
Prof Kevin O’Connor,  UCD School of Biomolecular & Biomedical Science, University College Dublin, Ireland.https://people.ucd.ie/kevin.oconnor/publications
https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=qjcOTHcAAAAJ&hl=en

Duties and Responsibilities:
Conduct self-directed and mentor guided research program to address the metabolic engineering challenge.
Maintain lab space, documentation and inventory in accordance with good lab practices.
Participate in training events for researchers involved in the graduate program including appropriate transferrable skills modules recorded in their research and professional development plan (e.g. research skills and academic writing).
Contribute periodic scientific reports along with promoting and disseminating results of the project through abstracts, manuscripts, presentations and outreach events.
Qualifications/Skills required:
Candidates for this position should have a MSc degree or BSc degree (minimum 2:1 honours, or equivalent) in Microbiology, Biochemistry or related discipline. It is desirable that candidates have experience in bacterial engineering and bioinformatics.
Candidates should have excellent communication and organisational skills; be highly motivated and passionate; and have strong written, oral and interpersonal skills. The candidate should be able to work independently and as a part of team. Leadership skills are desirable for this fellowship.
The successful candidate will be enrolled in a 4-year structured PhD programme in School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science.
Apply
Interested candidates should contact Tanja Narancic (e-mail: Tanja.narancic@ucd.ie) and Kevin O’Connor (e-mail: kevin.oconnor@ucd.ie) with a cover letter and CV, including the names of two academic references. Closing date 9th April 2021.