Microbubble treatments for controlling biofilms

Supervisor(s)

Contact Professor Stephen Evans to discuss this project further informally.

Project description

Bacterial communities are essential for sustaining life, but they also present one of the biggest threats to human health in the 21st century. Our goal is to develop innovative microbubble technologies that can help to control how bacteria form biofilms and the crossover between benign and pathogenic biofilms.

We will use a combination of microbubbles and ultrasound to disrupt the biofilm in a targeted fashion, break it up into its constituent parts, separate and sort the bacteria. Key questions are:

1. Is it possible to disrupt the biofilm controllably and separate out individual bacteria while keeping them intact? This could allow more effective treatments using currently available antibiotics which work more effectively against planktonic bacteria.

2. Can we improve drug/antibiotic penetration into biofilms using micro/nanobubbles to destroy biofilms

3. Can we selectively target a single bacterial species within the biofilm, using Affimers to attached to the bubbles, to selectively remove the pathogenic strains – would this allow us to control the pathogenicity and turn a pathogenic biofilm into a healthy one without using antibiotics?

4. Can these experiments interact with simulations under continual development in the School of Computing to quantitatively test hypotheses and accelerate parameter sampling, thereby refining the novel therapeutic targets?

Our model oral biofilm is an excellent choice and is implicated in a broad range of common diseases including; diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, cancer as well as rheumatoid arthritis.

Entry requirements

Applications are invited from candidates with or expecting a minimum of a UK upper second class honours degree (2:1), and/or a Master's degree in a relevant subject. 

Additional staff contact

How to apply

Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the university's website. Please state clearly in the research information section that the PhD you wish to be considered for is the 'Microbubble treatments for controlling biofilms’ as well as Professor Stephen Evans as your proposed supervisor.

If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University’s minimum English Language requirements.

We welcome scholarship applications from all suitably-qualified candidates, but UK black and minority ethnic (BME) researchers are currently under-represented in our Postgraduate Research community, and we would therefore particularly encourage applications from UK BME candidates.  All scholarships will be awarded on the basis of merit.

If you require any further information please contact the Graduate School Office
e: maps.pgr.admissions@leeds.ac.uk