Location: This PHD will be included in a Joint Lab Program set up between the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and the Centre for Materials Science at QUT, Australia. Successful applicants are expected to spend up to 12 months of their candidature at NTU facilities in Singapore.
Duration: up to 3.5 years (PhD stipend)
Starting date: 2024 (please inquire)
Application deadline: February 23rd, 2024
Published: February 1st, 2024
Lipids (fats and oils) present a broad landscape of molecular architectures with diverse chemical and physical properties that are finding applications in materials sciences as surface coatings, anti-microbial agents and drug- and vaccine-delivery systems. Despite the potential for numerous technology applications for this family of molecules, comparatively little effort has been made to develop the analytical tools to enable systematic exploration of the molecular structural diversity of the lipids in nature. Most research to-date has focussed on the composition of the human lipidome with an emphasis on well-characterised lipids present in tissues and body fluids where changes in lipid structure and composition can act as metabolic markers for health and disease. Conversely the microbial lipidome has remained largely unexplored despite the huge potential for uncovering new molecular diversity with unique physicochemical properties. Moreover, the chemical interactions of microbes with each other, combined with the critical metabolites exchange with higher mammals –including humans– makes the microbial lipidome a rich target for molecular discovery.
This project is a new collaboration built on complementary expertise in microbial lipid metabolism (Prof. Xue Li Guan, NTU), lipid discovery (Prof. Stephen Blanksby, QUT) and the application of lipids in the material sciences (Prof. Nam-Joon Cho, NTU). The supported Ph.D. student would initially work on characterisation of model organisms (e.g., E. Coli) cultured in the laboratories of Prof. Guan (NTU) using chromatographic- and mass spectrometric-technologies developed at QUT under the supervision of Prof. Blanksby (QUT). In parallel with the molecular structure determinations, chromatography and ion-mobility measurements carried out at QUT will be used to infer structure-function relationships (e.g., hydrophobicity and membrane packing efficiency). These measurements will be used to develop targets for applications in nanomedicine and biomaterials (e.g., anti-microbial coatings) that the student will have the opportunity to explore under the supervision of Prof. Cho (NTU).
This PHD will be included in a Joint Lab Program set up between the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and the Centre for Materials Science at QUT, Australia. Successful applicants are expected to spend up to 12 months of their candidature at NTU facilities in Singapore.
You will need to:
- meet QUT’s admission criteria for our Doctor of Philosophy degree, which includes meeting QUT’s English language requirements at the time of application
- commit to full-time, internal study
- be able to commence in the degree as soon as possible.
Ideally, you will:
- hold a master degree or honours degree in materials science, biomolecular analysis, analytical chemistry, or chemical engineering
- have a background in lipid biology, chemistry or physics would be advantageous.
Candidates who have published research papers in peer-review journals as first authors are preferred.
Website of University of Queensland
More information and application: https://www.qut.edu.au/study/fees-and-scholarships/scholarships/lipid-discovery-in-the-microbial-lipidome-phd-scholarship-including-research-visit-at-ntu-singapore-phd-scholarship