Kelvin Smith PhD Scholarship 2013/14
The prestigious Lord Kelvin/Adam Smith PhD Scholarship scheme was established in 2007 to support the development of innovative, boundary-crossing research at the University of Glasgow. The scheme supports new partnerships between members of staff and will offer outstanding research students both from home and abroad the opportunity to undertake doctoral training in the context of cutting edge interdisciplinary research projects.
Please note that the Kelvin Smith PhD Scholarships are project-based. If none of the Kelvin Smith PhD projects lie within your area of interest, please consider the other scholarship options available at the University of Glasgow.
Kelvin Smith PhD Scholarship details:
- Open to home/EU and international/overseas students.
- Each scholarship will run for 4 years and will provide the successful students with an annual stipend at UK Research Council recommended rates (£13,590 for 2012/13). On top of this the project will benefit from an annual consumables budget for research and travel costs.
- Appointed students will receive a full fee waiver from the host College.
If you are interested in applying for any of the 2013/14 projects, which are listed below, you should contact the Project Lead in the first instance or follow specific instructions as outlined after the project description.
T. Ferguson Rodger: 'social psychiatry', 'mad dreaming', and 'rethinking mental health'
Professor of Psychological Medicine at Glasgow University (1948-1973) and consultant psychiatrist at Glasgow hospitals, Thomas Ferguson Rodger (1907-1978) straddled a time of massive change when older ‘asylum-based’ psychiatry was challenged by emergent general hospital- and community-based psychiatry. The PhD will explore Rodger’s contribution along three axes: (i) to situate him within a genealogy of humanities-informed Scottish, British and ‘Western’ psychiatry, including as a progenitor of R.D. Laing (given his first job by Rodger); (ii) to reconstruct his hybrid psychiatric approach, which was neuroscientific and hospital-facing on the one hand, but ‘social’ and community-facing on the other; and (iii) to disclose the intimacies of his practice, wherein the fine-grain of an individual’s life, problems and ‘delusions’ became centralised (almost to the point of being psychoanalytic).
Rodger’s archive has recently been acquired by Glasgow University Archives and fully catalogued using Wellcome Trust funding. The archive contains: lecture notes (for students and non-academic audiences); professional reports (e.g. to WHO expert committees); war-time records (reflecting Rodger’s involvement in military psychiatry); case notes (with trails of correspondence); and 6 so-called ‘dream books’ (detailing individual cases and, unconventionally, sometimes narrated in the first person in an apparent deployment of novelistic technique). The project will systematically/critically read these materials, addressing the above-specified axes, to produce: a high-quality PhD thesis, spin-off publications and a WordPress site/mini-exhibition for GU Archives.
The chosen scholar will have an undergraduate/masters background in literary studies, history and/or human geography, and must display a clear aptitude for multi-disciplinary research. S/he will be identified as the Medical Humanities Research Centre’s Lord Kelvin Adam Smith PhD student, in collaboration with Geographical and Earth Science.
The successful applicant will work under the supervision of Dr Gavin Miller (Critical Studies) and Prof. Chris Philo (Geographical and Earth Sciences), and in consultation with Mrs Moira Rankin (Senior Archivist, Glasgow University Archives). The Studentship will begin no earlier than 1 September 2013 and no later than 31 March 2014.
How to apply:
Please email the following materials by Friday 19 April to Dr Gavin Miller, email@example.com, CCing to Prof. Christopher Philo, Christopher.Philo@glasgow.ac.uk :
- Covering letter (no more than 1 page of A4) indicating why you are interested in this PhD post, why you are a highly suitable candidate for the post, and your longer-term career ambitions;
- An up-to-date CV, including the names of two academic referees (who should be aware that you are naming them in this capacity);
- A relevant academic writing sample (from dissertation, essay, etc.) of no more than 4 pages of A4.
Language, identity, integration and education: a sociolinguistic study of 'New Arrivals' in Glasgow
Scholar position filled.
Sociolinguistic research has demonstrated that children acquire local dialect norms (a) in tandem with more standard norms (b) from the very earliest stages of language acquisition (e.g. Smith et al 2007, 2009, in press). Moreover, children quickly learn which norm is used when: this process is well advanced by age 6.
a. Ryan, I’m tellin’ Mrs Stuart on you. You didnae tell me you were oot!
b. Mrs Stuart, Ryan didn’t tell me he was out. (Chloe, aged 5 years, 3 months)
But what happens in the case of children ‘transplanted’ from another speech community after this age? Such children not only have to acquire another language, but also the appropriate norms of the classroom and the playground ‘if they are to begin to belong in their new country’ (McGonigal & Arizpe 2007:15). This linguistic ‘fit’ is integral to issues of identity and integration in the child’s expanding world. Inability to adapt to this new linguistic landscape can result in social exclusion and educational underachievement (e.g. Labov 1972). How do these children cope in this complex linguistic environment?
The proposed research investigates this question through the sociolinguistic study of the children of Asylum Seekers, Refugees and Migrants (henceforth ‘New Arrivals’) inGlasgow, a city which has witnessed a significant rise in these groups the last 12 years. Specifically:
1. Do New Arrivals adapt to the norms of the new speech community they find themselves in? If yes, when and how?
2. What role do attitudes play in the adoption or rejection of speech community norms?
3. What are the correlations between linguistic adaptation and educational achievement?
This empirical investigation of how children adopt and adapt their linguistic system to their new environment will contribute to our understanding of identity, integration and segregation in the context of indigenous and migrant communities in contact.
Developing our TRICEPS: A chemoproteomic approach to identify the protein targets of pathogenic toxins
A large number of bacterial pathogens produce toxins that modify host cell function, initially via interaction with specific cell surface proteins. Molecular characterisation of such interactions is usually hampered by their transient nature. An increasingly powerful approach is therefore the use of molecular probes to achieve irreversible binding. These molecules are composed of (1) a ligand; in this case the toxin, (2) an affinity label for irreversible binding to the receptor and (3) a fishing tag for isolating the captured ligand-receptor complex. These trivalent probes can be used in combination with quantitative mass-spectrometry for molecular characterisation of ligand-receptor interactions. Recently the trivalent molecular probe TRICEPS (Frei et al (2012) Nature Biotechnology 30, 997-1001) was described for the direct identification of ligand-receptor interactions on living cells and tissues. In this project TRICEPS and similar molecular probes will be synthesised. As an initial proof of concept, these will be utilised to confirm that an enzymatically inactive form of the Staphylococcus aureus elucidated protease Staphopain A binds specifically to the chemokine G protein-coupled receptor CXCR2, as was shown recently via different approaches (Laarman et al (2012) EMBO J 31, 3607-3619) by Milligan in collaboration with Rooijakkers and colleagues based in Utrecht, the former University of Liskamp) Subsequently, we will use the trivalent molecular probes to define the molecular identity of the receptor for the Bacteroides fragilis toxin (BFT) produced by enterotoxigenic strains of Bacteroides fragilis. This toxin is suggested as a critical contributor to colon carcinogenesis (Sears and Pardoll (2011) J Infect Dis. 203, 306-11). In collaboration with Professor Cynthia Sears (Professor of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, USA) Milligan has accumulated a substantial body of data to suggest that the identity of the target of BFT may be a poorly characterised G protein-coupled receptor and that antagonists of this receptor block the effects of the toxin. The studies supported by this studentship should prove the identity of the target and provide molecular details about the interaction site of BFT, which may promote a medicinal chemistry programme designed to target colon cancer and a series of inflammatory bowel conditions. The project will also illustrate the broad utility of the approach for other groups studying aspects of host-pathogen interactions.
Universal laws of mass migration: from cancer cells to wildebeest
Why do things behave differently when they are in groups? If we imagine that the suitability of an area degrades away from a specific point, then we should expect the movement of agents up and down this gradient to match the availability of the resource. For instance, more humans should migrate towards economic hubs, wildebeest should congregate in proportion to the available grazing, and the movement of cancer cells should be a function of the viscosity of the blood. However, this rarely occurs. In almost all circumstances, we observe more agents than we expect congregating in specific patches and these individual agents tend to move collectively. This aberrant behaviour of groups is consistently observed across all levels of organization from the movement of individual cancer cells in the human body to the mass migration of millions of animals. When individuals congregate and interact (via chemical, visual or aural communication), there is a fundamental switch away from our expectations which is suggestive of an underlying emergent property that has yet to be adequately quantified.
We intend to mathematically describe our empirical observations of the movement of cancer cells and GPS collared wildebeest and compare them to models in which movement is directly proportional to the resource. Our objective is to account for the observed variation in movement patterns of groups and determine if there are commonalities that occur across these scales of organization that may account for this divergent behaviour. This research will lead to an improved understanding of the pervasive role of group movement on biological interactions.
Where do new diseases come from? Revealing the process of virus emergence from molecules to landscapes
Scholar position filled.
Viruses are well known for their ability to jump species barriers, with often devastating consequences for human, livestock and wildlife populations. Yet, despite the significance of these host shift events, the evolutionary and ecological pathways leading to virus establishment and emergence in a new host are generally unknown. Here we propose a novel inter-disciplinary approach for shedding light on the process of host switching using rabies virus, an important pathogen of global public health concern, as our model.
Although rabies can infect (and ultimately kill) any mammal, within a given geographic area it tends to be maintained by a single primary host species (e.g. foxes inWestern Europe). This has led to long-standing speculations that the virus may specialise through host adaptation and thereby maximise its ability to emerge and be maintained in that species. However, empirical evidence for this and the possible molecular mechanisms involved are lacking, constraining our ability to predict and control the emergence of novel viruses.
Our project will take advantage of unusual recent outbreaks of rabies in an African antelope. Because these events represent a rare switch from the usual carnivore host to a genetically very divergent ungulate host, they are likely to have forced strong, and thus readily detectable, selective pressures on the virus. Based on this unique system, we aim to dissect the three key steps in the emergence pathway: 1) its genetic origins (using next-generation sequencing and bioinformatics); 2) the dynamics of selection within the host (using evolutionary analyses and reverse-genetics experiments); 3) the viral invasion dynamics within the novel host population (using case data and statistical models). Through this integration of molecular biology, novel technologies, evolutionary analyses and computational inference, our project will break new ground in unravelling the process of host switching and disease emergence, from its molecular basis to its epidemiological consequences.
Deep-tissue in vivo optical biopsy
We aim to develop a new sensing and imaging probe and use it to develop new minimally-invasive medical-imaging modalities. This will provide new much-needed capabilities for in vivo chemical sensing; the clinical application for spectroscopic imaging tissue oxygenation and hypoxia (that is oxygen starvation). Exploratory studies will also be conducted into new probe-based 3D imaging techniques and Raman spectroscopy.
Molecular markers of hypoxia and resulting angiogenesis are closely linked with inflammation, pathogenesis and disease in chronic immune mediated diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis. Importantly, these events occur early in disease progression, and so our technique will offer early diagnosis and monitoring of disease progression. This project will enable new understanding in the field of inflammation and tissue oximetry whilst offering routes to clinical benefits of robust, rapid and cost-effective stratified treatment and enhanced possibility of remission.
This project will bring together physicists, engineers, biologists and clinicians to achieve the following objectives:
-Minimally invasive optical probes (imagine imaging with micro-engineered endoscopic needles) will be developed for time-resolved optical spectroscopic biopsy of joint tissue. Algorithms based on the physics of light propagation in tissue and inverse-Monte-Carlo methods will be developed for spectroscopic localisation of blood oxygenation.
-These techniques will be applied to (a) mouse models of arthritis to determine correlates between hypoxia, inflammation and conventional disease-scoring approaches (b) monitoring of blood oxygenation in animal tendons (underpinning research into racehorse tendon injury as a model for human achilles-tendon injury).
- Imaging studies will be performed to examine the presence, behaviour and physiological context of cells in inflamed joint tissue. This will be correlated with conventional cellular analysis (e.g. flow cytometry and histochemistry).
Understanding the impact of climate change on human health: using remote sensing to define associations between environmental parameters and vector-borne diseases
Climate change has been identified as one of the biggest challenges facing humankind. It is predicted to impact not only on temperature but also atmospheric moisture, precipitation and atmospheric circulation. These in turn will impact the hydrological cycle, especially the character of precipitation (amount, frequency, intensity, duration), and extreme events (floods and droughts) directly impacting human society.
Climate change is also likely to impact human and animal health indirectly, as the geography of infectious diseases adapt, including changes in spatial and temporal distribution and seasonal activity of vector- and water-borne diseases, such as malaria, leptospirosis, dengue fever and rift valley fever, changing the risk. Many of these diseases are zoonotic (transmitted from animals to humans) and disease burden has massive impacts, not just for individual health but also economic and social impacts on families and communities, in terms of health care costs, loss of income, and huge pressure on health care facilities during epidemics. This burden is likely to increase.
Of paramount importance is the need to better understand the impact of climate change on human health. However, many knowledge gaps exist. Specifically there is a need to understand the relationship between particular disease patterns and their associated environmental parameters. Relevant environmental data can be obtained from satellite images, which provides a cost-effective rapid means of gathering data.
This inter-disciplinary project will combine fluvial geomorphology, spatial epidemiology, remote sensing and GIS technologies to develop a tool to predict disease outbreaks in Tanzania, and provide a unique training opportunity, and exciting, vital research. In turn this will provide timely warnings of epidemics due to an improved understanding of possible causal factors, and an increased ability to identify high risk populations, enabling the concentration of limited resources at hotspot locations and assisting in hazard reduction by raising community awareness of risks involved.
Nanocomposites for water purification: synthesis, insights and performance evaluation
The University of Glasgow is seeking a highly motivated graduate to undertake an exciting PhD project on “Nanocomposites for water purification: synthesis, insights and performance evaluation”.
Membrane separation is increasingly being used in a wide range of applications, including drinking water treatment, wastewater reclamation and seawater desalination due to its multiple advantages. The greatest barrier to the successful application of membrane technology is biofouling which reduces clean water production, shortens membrane life and increases energy/cost demands. New strategies based on a better understanding of how bacteria attach, grow, and detach from aquatic interfaces are urgently needed. This project combines water engineering, membrane technology and inorganic materials chemistry to provide an exciting research project and unique training opportunity. We propose to fabricate novel anti-fouling nanocomposite films deposited onto ultrafiltration membranes and immobilize antimicrobial nanoparticles (NPs) into polyelectrolyte multilayers (PEMs). We will evaluate rigorously the fundamental relationships between the physical and chemical structure of the coatings and their anti-biofouling properties. These interrelationships will be exploited to improve and optimise the performance of the membranes themselves. There are three principle objectives: (1) to synthesize novel NPs with antimicrobial activities and incorporate them into PEMs; (2) to evaluate membrane performance; (3) to study the underlying fundamental mechanisms giving rise to superior anti-fouling performance.
By working in this highly inter-disciplinary environment, the scholar will gain not only technical expertise but also a range of transferrable and communication skills. Furthermore, given the commercially attractive output of this research program the scholar will gain first-hand an understanding of the importance of the timely protection of intellectual property and the complementary value of know-how in the context of knowledge transfer.
Applicants should have a First Class or Upper Second Class Honours degree or equivalent in Environmental Engineering, Material Science, Chemical Engineering, Chemistry or related discipline. The successful candidate will be highly self-motivated, be goal oriented and have good writing and communication skills. An enthusiasm for innovation and speculative thinking is particularly encouraged. A master degree in a relevant subject would be advantageous but is not essential.
Applications will be assessed as received and all applicants should follow the standard College postgraduate admission process (http://www.gla.ac.uk/research/opportunities/howtoapplyforaresearchdegree/applyonline/). Should you need further information on this project, potential applicants are encouraged to contact Dr Xue Jin at Xue.Jin@glasgow.ac.uk or Professor Duncan Gregory at Duncan.Gregory@glasgow.ac.uk
The Lord Kelvin & Adam Smith Scholarship is 4 years and covers student stipend at the Research Council recommended rate which is £13,726 per annum. The scholar’s tuition fee will be waived in full.
Wind, wave and tide: renewable energy and transition-periphery dynamics in Scotland
Scholar position filled.
Over the coming decades many parts of Scotland will be transformed as new technologies and infrastructures are installed to exploit renewable energy (wind, wave, tide, mini-hydro). The changes brought about could be positive and/or negative for communities and sustainability but the interactions between particular locations and the broader, nationally-driven transition to renewable energy are poorly understood at present. These interactions need to be appreciated in much more detail, before changes gather momentum, if we are to secure the widest range of benefits.
This project takes up this challenge by linking and extending recent debates around socio-technical transitions (Science and Technology Studies/Innovation Studies) and new resource peripheries (Human Geography). Using this framework it will analyse diverse renewable energy projects from across the periphery of Scotland, including, for example, a large commercial wind farm in Dumfries and Galloway and a community owned tidal flow project in the Western Isles.
The analysis will focus on the ways in which renewable energy projects and particular locations are co-shaping each other in the wider political-economic context which is being defined largely at national (Scotland and UK) and international levels. In this way it will explore what one of the supervisors (Murphy) has already referred to as transition-periphery dynamics. It will also revisit debates around (in)appropriate technology by examining the charge that national priorities are leading to perverse outcomes in local communities, where the most prolific and/or community-friendly local renewable energy resources (e.g. micro-hydro, coppicing biomass etc) are being ignored as centrally-favoured technologies (most notably wind) are vigorously promoted from afar. Such research will not only advance scholarship in an important area but will also make more transparent the implications of deploying renewable energy technologies and infrastructures in particular ways.
Please send a CV and covering letter to the Lead Supervisor.
Health and educational impacts of socio-ethnic migration and neighbourhood dynamics in Scotland
The ethnic/religious composition of our cities and neighbourhoods is diverse and rapidly changing, with profound implications for social justice and cohesion. Current immigration policy, for example, with its far-reaching impacts on education and employment, is underpinned by a particular set of perceptions about ethnicity and the long-term effect of assimilation. Such policies are set against a backdrop of sociological concerns about how society perceives and integrates immigrant communities, and how contours of disadvantage fall along racial and religious lines, and persist down generations. For example, Devine et al. (2000) argue that discrimination towards early-twentieth-century Catholic immigrants became embedded, to the extent that these socio-religious divisions remain a source of disadvantage.
Much of this debate, however, is based on anecdotal evidence, small-sample/short-run case studies, or on area/group averages which are vulnerable to the Ecological Fallacy (using group-level results to make false inferences about individuals within those groups). Migration flows of individuals from particular ethnic/social backgrounds remain poorly understood at micro-spatial-scales and there is very little reliable evidence on the implications for long-term wellbeing.
This project will achieve a step-change in the scientific rigour applied to ethnicity research. Applying cutting-edge quantitative techniques to a unique combination of high-quality Scottish datasets, we shall open-up new avenues for ethnicity/inequality-research, and develop novel social-statistical methods that will have applications in other contexts. We shall follow 270,000 individuals over a twenty-year period, linking the greatly-underutilised Scottish Longitudinal Study (SLS) to a rich combination of data on neighbourhood composition, health, house prices and education. This will allow us to map-out the individual life-trajectories and health outcomes of persons identified as Catholic in 1991, compare these trajectories with those of persons from different ethnic/religious backgrounds, and shed light on questions about the extent to which long-term discrepancies in social mobility and health outcomes are driven by ethnicity/religion and/or neighbourhood effects.
For more information on this project and details of how to apply, please see E-MiNDS Call for Applications.
For further information on the Kelvin Smith PhD Scholarship Scheme, please see the scheme Terms and Conditions 2013/14 or email firstname.lastname@example.org