Phd Studentship, Surfaces for the Elimination of Clostridium Difficile

Birmingham, United Kingdom
20 Mar 2019
End of advertisement period
30 Apr 2019
Academic Discipline
Physical Sciences, Chemistry
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Life and Health Sciences - Studentships

Location:  Aston University Main Campus
Basis:  Full Time
Closing Date:  23.59 hours BST on Tuesday 30 April 2019    

Fully-funded full-time PhD Studentship in collaboration with Insight Health Ltd

Supervisors: Dr Dan Rathbone and Dr Tony Worthington

Aston Pharmacy School, School of Life and Health Sciences, Aston University, Birmingham B4 7ET

Applications are invited from ambitious, self-motivated candidates from a chemistry background to prepare and test new materials for the elimination of Clostridium difficile spores in the environment. This opportunity is open to UK and EU students who have at least an upper second class honours degree or equivalent in chemistry or a chemistry-related subject.

Clostridium difficile associated disease (CDAD) is the major cause of infective diarrhoea in healthcare environments. The production of spores by C. difficileand their dispersal in the environment by explosive diarrhoea facilitates the transmission of the disease. Following ingestion, the spores germinate in the small intestine upon exposure to bile acids produced by the host. The spores are metabolically dormant and highly resistant to adverse environmental conditions. In addition, the spores are resistant to common disinfectants and biocides thus allowing them to withstand hospital cleaning regimes. If a spore can be induced to germinate to produce the vegetative cell, the latter is sensitive and may be vanquished by common disinfectants and biocides. Therefore, goal of the project is to produce surfaces with attached bioactive entities that are able to initiate germination of the C. difficile spores and which also have general wide-spectrum antimicrobial properties. Such spore germination-extermination dual-action materials could be a useful weapon in the fight against microbial infection. The major component of the project is synthetic organic chemistry and this will be complemented by biological screening of the material produced.

Aston University was ranked  5th out of 94 UK Higher Education Institutions for research in Allied Health Professions (REF 2014) and was ranked 1st for research environment. Additional information about research in the School can be found at

Financial Support:

The studentship comprises of the current RCUK tax-free stipend of £14,777 p.a. and payment of Home/EU tuition fees only. The studentship is available for three years, subject to satisfactory progress review at the end of the first year, and is expected to commence in July 2019. 

Application Requirements:

  • Eligible Applicants should hold at least a bachelor (Hons.) degree of either 1st class/2.1 in chemistry or a chemistry-related discipline.
  • EU Applicants will need to demonstrate adequate proficiency in English Language skills, with a minimum overall score of 93 (Internet Based) (with a minimum score in each section of: R: 18W: 23, L: 19 and S: 19) in TOEFL or IELTS with minimum marks of 6.0 in each section and an overall band of 6.5.
  • Informal enquiries should be addressed to Dr Dan Rathbone (E-mail:; Telephone: 0121 204 4002).
  • To apply please complete the on-line application format: Full-time Research Health Sciences Programme) quoting reference: ‘PhD Rathbone’ on all applications.

Please note that only candidates who have been selected for interview will be contacted.  If you have not received an invitation to attend an interview within approximately two weeks of the closing date, you may assume that your application has been unsuccessful on this occasion.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact HR via particulars and application forms are available in alternative formats on request i.e. large print, Braille, tape or CD Rom.