Shortlisted LKAS PhD Projects

Shortlisted LKAS PhD Projects

*The 2016/17 round of Lord Kelvin/Adam Smith PhD Scholarships is open for applications until Friday 22 January 2016.*

Please see below for details of the 20 shortlisted Kelvin Smith PhD Scholarship projects available for commencement during academic session 2016/17. Please note that due to the interdisciplinary nature of the projects applicants should browse the entire list to find a potential match to their area of interest. Projects that have already recruited a student are listed for information only.

Lord Kelvin Adam Smith Guidance Notes

Summary list of shortlisted projects

Arts:

  • The medical history of the refugee camp. - Dr Benjamin White et al
  • Geodiversity and human difference: disability, landscape form and process. -  Professor Deirdre Heddon et al
  • The application of next-generation DNA sequencing to the 18th-century Hunterian anatomy collections for better understanding of disease evolution and its historic documentation. - Professor Lorna Hughes et al
  • Healthy stories: Using oral traditions to disseminate public health advice. - Ms Zoe Strachan et al
  • The influence of Aerospace Technology on Airpower Theory: From the Second World War to the War on ‘Terror’. - Dr Phillips O’Brien et al

Social Sciences:

  • Intended and unintended consequences of graphic health warnings on young people:  the case of plain packaging. A candidate as already been selected for this project. - Dr Thomas Anker et al
  • Towards sustainable mobility in cities:  improve active travel safety using GIS-coupled urban big data analytics. - Dr Jing Yao et al
  • The Pakistani economic diaspora in the United Kingdom from the 1950s to the present:  immigrant entrepreneurship, transnational networks and business implications. A candidate as already been selected for this project. - Professor Ray Stokes et al
  • Creating coalitions for low carbon transition in the city. - Professor Andrew Cumbers et al
  • Community centres as assets for social regeneration and health improvement. - Professor Ade Kearns

Science & Engineering:

  • Programmable vesicles for RNAi-based targeted drug delivery. - Dr Souchiro Tsuda et al
  • Aerodynamic and aeroelastic aspects of the ecophysiological response of plants to high winds. - Dr Angela Busse et al
  • Smart nanoparticle platforms for the treatment of textile artefacts recovered from the Mary Rose. - Dr Serena Corr et al
  • Development of novel 2D materials for electronic and biomedical applications. - Dr Alexey Ganin et al
  • The role of gut microbiota and its metabolites in regulating immune function. - Dr Douglas Morrison et al

Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences:

  • Stress survival tactics – Intracellular protein sorting as a defence against oxidative stress. - Professor Kostas Tokatlidis et al
  • New methodologies to investigate geographical, demographical and environmental risk factors in antimicrobial resistance. - Dr Louise Matthews et al
  • New tools, old ticks: uncovering the transmission biology if disease vectors through emerging technologies. - Dr Roman Biek et al
  • A synthetic salmonid intestine to test whether gut microbiota underlie variation in Atlantic salmon metabolic efficiency. - Dr Martin Llewellyn et al
  • Investigating the adhesive forces mediated by integrins in dendritic cell-T cell interactions. - Dr Vicky Morrison et al

Application Process

Of the 20 potential projects advertised below only 10 scholarships will be awarded based on the quality of the applicant and the project. The Selection Committee will meet on 23 February 2016 and the decision of the selection committee will be communicate to you by the project supervisor.

  • In the first instance, prospective students should review the project proposal and make contact with the Lead Supervisor of the project to discuss their eligibility for the project unless stated otherwise.
  • Please note that each project may have a specified deadline which falls within January 2016. Unless otherwise stated, applicants may submit applications up until the application deadline of 22 January 2016.
  • Please read the project description carefully and note that their may be project specific application directions in addition to the generic guidance noted here regarding the information you must provide.

Each project team will select their preferred candidate whose details will be forwarded to the selection panel by 29 January 2016. Applicants should be aware that even if chosen by the project team as their nominated candidate there is no guarantee of receiving funding and that they should also pursue other funding streams.


 

War Studies/Aerospace Engineering:

The influence of Aerospace Technology on Airpower Theory: From the Second World War to the War on ‘Terror’

 

Fighter plane

Project Description: The student selected will write his/her PhD on the interaction of aerospace technology and airpower theory. It could be done as a survey of a number of important case studies in the 20th and 21st centuries. These could include strategic bombing in the Second World War, Airpower and negotiating strategy in the Vietnam War, Airpower theory and technology in the First Gulf War, the air campaign against Serbia over Kosovo, and finally the War on ‘Terror.’ The student would be expected to study how technological developments have led to changes in targeting and political risk. The student would be expected to perform statistical analyses, strategic and security data projection studies, risk investigations using state-of the-art engineering tools, and modelling and simulation of the anticipated scenarios and future trends using optimisation techniques—taking into consideration the case studies identified. In that way the student could provide an extremely valuable study, taking advantages of real expertise at Glasgow University, and have real impact on an international discussion of great importance.

Person Specification: 1st Class or 2:1 Masters degree in a subject with relevant connection with the subject such as : Engineering (Aerospace, Mechanical), Maths, Physics, Economics, History, War Studies, International Relations, Politics, etc.

Application details: Interested Applicants should make contact with the supervisors of the project,  Dr. Phillips O’Brien (phillips.obrien@glasgow.ac.uk) and Professor Konstantinos Kontis (Kostas.Kontis@glasgow.ac.uk)

Deadline: Friday 22 January 2016

 

 

Urban politics/Electrical Engineering:

Creating coalitions for low carbon transition in the city.

Project description: Cities have been identified as critical spaces in the battle against climate change. In the face of the power of vested interests in carbon-based energies and technologies at national level, the lack of renewable base-load capacity, and current government policy that has created considerable uncertainty, city actors are mobilising to effect changes at the local level that involve bringing together alliances of activists, local government official and scientists and technologists to develop  multi-modal solutions that can address production, consumption and distribution of energy in the areas of greatest population density. New strategies that involve investment in renewable energy, the shift to district heating systems and combined heat and power systems as well as innovations in organisation and ownership – including new local public and community owned energy companies – are aimed at a step-change in low carbon transition and climate change amelioration. For full project details please see Creating Coalitions for Low Carbon Transition in the City‌.

Cityscape

Person specification: A good first degree in social sciences or environmental management and preferably masters degree in these areas. Essential characteristics are experience of undertaking qualitative research and some knowledge of quantitative techniques. Evidence of ability to engage in team work and meeting project deadlines are also essential. Knowledge of debates regarding climate change and urban and local governance, community engagement.

Applications details: Deadline Friday 22nd January. For any questions or further information, please contact Professor Andrew Cumbers: Andrew.cumbers@glasgow.ac.uk or 0141 3302291.

 

 

 

 

 

GIScience/Transport:

Towards sustainable mobility in cities:  improve active travel safety using GIS-coupled urban big data analytics.

Project description: The aim of this project is to understand active travel using geographical information system (GIS) coupled urban big data analytics, assisting stakeholders from various backgrounds with decision-making regarding road safety and sustainability of urban transport. As an important way to promote sustainable transportation, active travel has become increasingly popular due to the benefits of improving physical fitness and reducing carbon emissions. However, pedestrians and cyclists are the most vulnerable road users with a high risk of exposure to road accidents. Today, emerging urban big data are shifting the manner of urban management, enabling better understanding of complex urban systems and developing effective solutions to sustainable and smart cities. Such data must be combined and analysed in meaningful ways if valuable insights on city operations are to be obtained.
Using both administrative data of UK and the unique spatial survey data collected by the Urban Big Data Centre (UBDC) (http://ubdc.ac.uk/) at University of Glasgow, the primary goal of this project is to develop GIS-coupled urban big data analytics to

  • understand and predict spatial-temporal patterns/trend of urban mobility (particularly active travel),
  • assess the risks of exposure to road accidents for road users (particularly pedestrians and cyclists),
  • evaluate road walkability and suitability of cycling lanes, as well as to provide suggestions for priority site selection for future remedial measures. ‌

‌The successful candidate will be jointly supervised by Dr Jing Yao (Lead Supervisor, UBDC), Prof. Rich Mitchell (Public Health), Dr Brian Barrett (Geography) and Prof. Piyushimita Thakuriah (UBDC). The scholar will have opportunities to work with a multi-disciplinary research team including other talented graduate students, post-doctorates, and faculty members from UBDC, School of Geographical and Earth Sciences and Centre for Research on Environment, Society and Health (CRESH) (http://cresh.org.uk/). In addition, the scholar will have exciting opportunities to gain training and experiences in spatial statistics, transport modelling and big data analytics.

Person Specification: Qualified candidates should have a Master's degree in Geography, Transport Planning or a related discipline. Candidates should have strong interests in GIScience, remote sensing and big data in the contexts of urban geography, transport and public health. Preference will be given to applicants with demonstrated expertise in GIS-based spatial analyses, quantitative methods (e.g., mathematical modelling and statistics) and computer programming (e.g., R and Python). Excellent written and verbal communication skills and ability to work in an interdisciplinary team environment are desirable. Research experience in transport geography and/or health geography is a plus. Candidates whose first language is not English must show evidence of appropriate competence in English. You can find the specific requirements on the international students’ pages).

Application details: Interested candidates should send a resume/C.V., a cover letter, transcripts, evidence of English competence for students whose native language is not English, and contact information for two referees to Dr. Jing Yao at Jing.Yao@glasgow.ac.uk. The desired start date is 1st Oct, 2016.

The application deadline: Friday 22nd January, 2016.

 

 

Creative Writing / Geography:

Healthy Stories: Using oral traditions to disseminate public health adviceTanzania children

Project description: We are seeking a creative writer to work in association with a larger existing project focusing on innovative ways of communicating health advice and good practice to diverse communities in Tanzania in the form of stories. The writer will work closely with field teams in Tanzania to gain an understanding of the oral traditions of a number of communities, enhancing our understanding of comparative narrative traditions.  The writer will then work with the team to develop new stories to tell back to these communities which will help to deliver messages emerging from the health research in a way that fits within existing narrative structures.

The successful applicant will be supported to complete a practice-based thesis that will include a full-length creative element (either a full manuscript of the stories generated, or a complete work of original fiction/narrative non-fiction/poetry/drama inspired by the research process) alongside a shorter critical thesis.

Person Specification:  Applicants must possess:

  • A Masters degree in Creative Writing OR equivalent publication history i.e. a demonstrable track record of writing and literary dissemination e.g. through fiction, non-fiction, storytelling, poetry, drama, performance or journalism
  • A good first degree in any discipline
  • An ability to work independently and as part of a team
  • An enthusiasm for undertaking extended periods in the field in Tanzania throughout the PhD (supported by a translator and field team)

Desirable qualities include:

  • Experience of working with diverse groups in community-based projects at home or overseas
  • An interest in working across cultures and languages
  • Confident oral communication skills
  • An interest in healthcare, livestock, and the One Health approach
  • A spirit of adventure and openness to being inspired artistically by travel and new experiences!

Application details: In the first instance prospective applicants should contact Zoë Strachan, zoe.strachan@glasgow.ac.uk. Applicants may submit applications up until the application deadline of Friday 22 January 2016.

 

 

Chemistry/Engineering/Physics/Biology: 

Development of novel 2D materials for electronic and biomedical applications 

Project description: The aim of the project is to investigate a new, unique and highly novel process for the production of two-dimensional (2D) "graphene-like" materials and to explore electronic and biomedical device applications using these processes.

 ‌Graphene

This project will create an exciting opportunity for the candidate to develop her/himself into an interdisciplinary researcher of the highest calibre, capable of making, characterising and processing nanostructured materials into biomedical and electronic devices. Jointly mentored training will be provided throughout the project, covering modern techniques for thin film deposition which will also comprise hands-on experience in the fabrication of thin films by thermal evaporation, pulsed laser deposition and vapour transport techniques. As a part of the interdisciplinary team the candidate will explore nano- and micro-scale 2D and 3D patterning of the atomically thin TMD films in order to demonstrate  (1) novel field effect transistors (FETs) with improved on/off ratio and (2) joint reconstruction applications for improved prosthesis design. This will be achieved by optimising the manufacturing process for the 2D films with a focus on its integration with current Si-based technology. Careful assessment of the materials' electrical transport and structural properties will be executed through fine control over the number of layers in these films, the level of defects and monitoring the chemical structure by spectroscopy, field-effect mobility by Hall measurements and atomic structure by electron microscopy. At the same time the second strand of the project will commence with a specific goal to evaluate the biocompatibility and anti-fouling performance of the fabricated 2D products by cytotoxicity assays with cell interactions. For full projects details please see Development of novel 2D materials for electronic and biomedical applications

Person specification: You are expected to have 1st class degree BSc (Hons) in Chemistry, Physics or Bio/Electronic Engineering or an equivalent degree. A relevant Masters degree would be an advantage.

Application details:  The applicants should make contact the Lead Supervisors of the project to Dr Alexey Ganin (Alexey.Ganin@glagow.ac.uk) by emailing:

  • Your full CV
  • Degree transcripts (please only include relevant pages of transcripts and preferably only the English language translations of overseas transcripts)
  • Evidence of English language proficiency (if relevant)
  • Statement expressing their particular attributes and/or achievements and suitability to undertake the proposed project.

 Deadline for applications is 15th of January 2016.

 

 

 

 

Advanced nanocomposite design/Conservation of Tudor textiles:

Smart nanoparticle platforms for the treatment of textile artefacts recovered from the Mary Rose

Mary Rose

Project description: ‌

The Mary Rose hull was raised in 1982 after spending 437 years under the sea bed and is currently housed in a state-of-the-art museum at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. Whilst buried under the seabed, hydrogen sulfide formed by sulfur-reducing bacteria migrated into the wooden hull and her contents. This reacted with iron ions, from corroded fixtures, to form iron sulfides. Stable in low-oxygen environments, sulfur rapidly oxidises in the presence of iron under atmospheric conditions to form destructive acid. The iron corrosion, coupled to this acid formation, threatens the long term stability of many artefacts retrieved from the Mary Rose hull.  A suitable conservation strategy must be determined to prevent these priceless artefacts from being destroyed.

This project will design, develop and produce a multifunctional nanoplatform, based on magnetic nanoparticles, whose surface chemistry has been uniquely tailored with sequestering agents to completely remove harmful species from specific artefacts. While there were over 19,000 artefacts recovered from the Mary Rose, this project will focus on textiles including sail cloth, rope and leather.  This project is a unique collaboration between the Corr group at Glasgow chemistry who are experts in nanocomposite design and synthesis, the Quye group at Glasgow Culture and Creative Arts who are experts in the conservation of heritage textiles and Dr Eleanor Schofield, conservation manager at the Mary Rose trust.

Person Specification: As one of the criteria for awarding LKAS scholarships is the fit between the project and the candidate you should explicitly outline the academic qualifications, skills, experience and personal attributes that are sought in an applicant.

Over the course of this project, you will be trained in all aspects of nanoparticle synthesis and surface functionalisation. You will work closely with other Corr group members working on conservation strategies for wooden artefacts as part of an active research team in our group.  You will also be trained in how to fully characterise your materials and examine their effect on textile samples taken from the Mary Rose.  You will also spend significant time with the Quye group and liaising with the Mary Rose Trust. Applicants should hold a First Class or Upper Second Class Honours degree or equivalent in Chemistry, Materials Science, Cultural Heritage Science or related disciplines. Any previous experience in archaeological chemistry is advantageous, though not essential.  The successful candidate should be highly ambitious, enthusiastic and self-motivated.  Good English writing and communication skills are essential. Funding is available to cover research fees, essential consumables, travel costs for project meetings and selected conferences, as well as paying a stipend at the Research Council rate.

Application details: Applicants should contact Dr Serena Corr with any specific queries (serena.corr@glasgow.ac.uk) before Friday 22 January 2016.

 

 

Engineering/Plant Science: 

Aerodynamic and aeroelastic aspects of the ecophysiological response of plants to high winds

Project description: One of the consequences of climate change will be changing wind patterns and intensities. Agriculture will have to adapt to the changing conditions to sustain the growing population of the world. Wind affects the growth and anatomy of plants and can have substantial effects on yield, for example through lodging and breakage. In many cases, plants respond to mechanical stress by developing secondary wall structures to resist larger, often unidirectional forces. However, many high wind environments are also characterised by large variations of wind speed and direction, which can also occur in the form of discrete or continuous strong gusts. An alternative adaption strategy for plants is thus to develop alternate, less branched or more flexible structures that can easily flex. While the growth pattern of plants subject to high wind loads has been a focus of a number of biological studies, the detailed aerodynamic and aeroelastic aspects of this phenomenon remain largely unexplored.‌

 Thalecress

The objective of this project is to examine the growth response of different forms of Arabidopsis (thalecress) to wind of different speeds. To this end, Arabidopsis thaliana will be grown in controlled environments subject to different wind conditions. The anatomy of the specimens during different stages of their growing cycle will be examined and related to the wind environment. Arabidopsis thaliana is the best characterised model for studies of plant biology, and a wide range of ecotypes, natural and targeted mutants are available that affect growth form of the plant. The plant has a short growth cycle and its structures are easily quantified. It is thus ideally suited to conduct these experiments.‌

The structures formed by the plants will be applied to both rigid and elastic models. The models will be used to investigate the fluid and structural response through wind tunnel experiments and computational fluid dynamics simulations. These studies will provide detailed insight into the aerodynamic and aeroelastic properties of the different growth forms. A better understanding of these properties is key for the selection and redesign of plants with suitable characteristics for high wind environments. The aeroelastics of plants may also give rise to new bio-inspired mechanical, aerospace, and civil engineering structures that have improved gust response.

This project is an interdisciplinary project between the Aerospace Sciences Research Division of the School of Engineering and the Plant Science Research Group in the Institute of Molecular, Cell and Systems Biology.

Person specification: First class (or equivalent) degree in engineering or natural sciences; prior experience with running experiments or numerical simulation would be of advantage; interest in working in a multi-disciplinary research environment.

Application details: Please conduct Dr Angela Busse (angela.busse@glasgow.ac.uk) with any questions about the project, the application procedure and to discuss you eligibility for the project before Friday 22 January 2016.‌

 

Urban Studies/Health/Education:

Community Centres as Assets for Social Regeneration and Health Improvement

Project Description:

Background:

The Scottish Government has declared a strong interest in using ‘assets for health’, although a recent review concluded that the evidence for the impacts of asset-based approaches on health ‘is currently limited’.  This research will explore the role of community centres as community assets for social regeneration and health improvement.

Community Centres as Assets:‌

Community centres represent physical, tangible neighbourhood assets but their role in building sustainable and flourishing communities and potential in tackling the root causes of health inequality is little understood. This study will explore the processes and mechanisms by which community centres produce community benefit through exploring how four different community centres understand and enact their role in building and supporting community life across deprived neighbourhoods in the east end of Glasgow.

The research will shed light on the possibilities for community centres to develop against a context of challenge and opportunity, including: austerity and a reduction in public spending with an emphasis on preventative investment against known causes of poor health and health inequality; a drive towards services which are designed with and for communities, integrated and collaborative (as per the Christie Commission and the Scottish Government’s Thriving Places approach); and a changing understanding of the nature of communities themselves brought about by technology such as social media and increased geographic mobility. For full project details please see: Community centres as assets for social regeneration and health improvement.

Person Specification:

Candidates should have:

  • A good first degree in the social sciences (at least 2:1).
  • An ability to critically engage with theoretical concepts and policy ideas.
  • A high standard of written English and evidence thereof.
  • An appreciation of the challenges of working in a community setting.
  • Good verbal communication skills and a pleasant conversational manner (for conducting in-depth interviews with members of the public).
  • Ability as a self-starter and to be able to resolve practical difficulties that may arise in fieldwork.
  • A demonstrable interest in community development or community empowerment.
  • A desire to inform public policy for health improvement.

Desirable:

  • A masters degree that included elements of research skill development is desirable but not essential.

Application Details:

Interested candidates may contact Dr Peter Seaman with any queries they may have, or for an informal discussion about the project in the first instance.  This is an option, not a requirement. 

Applications should be made by email to Dr Peter Seaman (peter.seaman@glasgow.ac.uk) by 5.00 pm on 22nd January 2016.  This should include the following:

  • Covering letter explaining why you are interested in the scholarship, and how it fits into your career plans.
  • Curriculum vitae.
  • An example of your written work (word processed document).

 

 

 

Investigating the adhesive forces mediated by integrins in dendritic cell-T cell interactions

Supervisors:

  • Primary supervisor: Dr Vicky Morrison, Institute of Infection, Immunity & Inflammation
  • Second supervisor: Dr Huabing Yin, School of Engineering
  • Third supervisor: Prof James Brewer, Institute of Infection, Immunity & Inflammation

 Dendrite T Cell interactions

 Project description: The immune system must initiate protective immune responses against pathogens whilst remaining tolerant to self-molecules. When self-tolerance is breached, chronic inflammatory autoimmune diseases such as Rheumatoid Arthritis can occur. Dendritic cells (DCs) are responsible for making the decision between immune activation and tolerance. DCs instruct T cells via direct interaction, the dynamics of which influence the outcome of the immune response. Our recent studies have shown that DCs require functioning beta2 integrin adhesion receptors to mediate optimal contacts with T cells. However, many questions remain unanswered regarding the influence of DC integrins on contact strength and duration, and the outcome of the T cell response.

The central hypothesis of this project is that beta2 integrin expression by DCs functions to stabilise contacts with T cells. We predict that DCs that are integrin-deficient will have reduced interaction strength and/or duration with T cells, leading to an altered T cell response. To investigate this, we will combine advances in cell biology and quantitative analysis in the following objectives: 1) quantify integrin-mediated adhesive strengths between DCs and different T cell subsets, 2) define the contribution of integrins to DC-T cell interactions in vivo, and 3) investigate the impact of DC integrin-deficiency on the resulting T cell response, in terms of activation, tolerance and autoimmunity (arthritis).

This multi-disciplinary PhD project will allow the student to gain experience in a wide range of cutting edge techniques, including atomic force microscopy, microfluidics, multi-colour flow cytometry, two-photon microscopy and in vivo mouse model systems. This is a fantastic opportunity for the training and professional development of the student at the interface between biology and engineering.

Applicant specification: Applicants should have obtained, or expect to obtain, an upper second (2.1) or 1st Class Honours degree in a relevant subject. An understanding of the immune system is preferred but not essential. Some relevant laboratory experience would be desirable. 

Application details

Applicants should contact the lead supervisor, Dr Vicky Morrison, directly with a copy of their CV to discuss eligibility and the application process. The closing date for applications to be completed is Friday 15th January 2016.

E-mail: Vicky.Morrison@glasgow.ac.uk

 

Salmonid biology and microbial ecology; Ecoengineering and synthetic microbial community design:

SalmoSim: Exploring the microbial basis of Atlantic Salmon energetics via a synthetic intestinal system.

Supervisors: Dr. Martin Llewellyn, Dr. Umer Ijaz, Prof. Neil Metcalfe, Prof. Bill Sloan

The problem: The expansion of the Salmonid aquaculture industry is unsustainable given the current reliance on over-exploited wild fish stocks as the protein and lipid food source, and poor growth efficiency on alternative plant-based feeds. This situation presents many new challenges to both fish and farmer.

One cause of poor growth efficiency is inefficient digestion (which also leads to pollution from fecal waste), linked to the fish’s metabolic rate. Intestinal microbiota are known to play a central role in nutritional energy harvest, including contributions to host carbohydrate and lipid metabolism in vertebrates. In mice, for example, transplantation of microbial communities from the gut of obese and lean animals into germ-free individuals can transmit the corresponding trait. Microbial modification of host metabolism and regulation of fat storage, as well as provision of short chain fatty acids from otherwise indigestible polysaccharides, are all thought to drive growth and fat deposition. A greater understanding of these processes could therefore reveal routes to improve growth efficiency of fish fed on plant-based diets, but this requires a novel experimental approach.

Salmon farm

Aim: This interdisciplinary PhD project will explore the contribution of the salmon gut microbiome to observed variation in host energetics (absorption, metabolism, growth), partly by creating an artificial ‘fish gut’ which will act as a test-bed for salmon microbial fermentation of novel feeds as well as the effectiveness of pro, pre and synbiotics. For ful project details please see: A synthetic salmonid intestine to test metabolic efficiency.

Personal Specification: We are looking for an exceptionally motivated and talented student to fill this generously funded position. The student should have a 1st class undergraduate degree (or equivalent) in a biological or engineering field and a demonstrable interest and aptitude in one or more aspects of this project. A master’s degree is preferable but not essential. This studentship is open to candidates of any nationality – UK, EU or International.

Application details: Prospective applicants should contact lead supervisor Dr. Martin Llewellyn (martin.llewellyn@glasgow.ac.uk) to discuss their interest in the position. Applications for this studentship must be made via the University website no later than 22 January 2016. The studentship will start in September 2016.

 

 

 

Disease Ecology, Chemistry, Proteomics:

New tools, old ticks: uncovering the transmission biology of disease vectors through emerging technologies

Supervisors: Dr Roman Biek, Prof Klaas Wynne, Dr Richard Burchmore, Dr Heather Ferguson

 Tick parasite

This 4-year PhD project will combine chemical physics, proteomics and disease ecology to uncover linkages between vector ecology and human disease risk, focussing on the tick vector Ixodes ricinus. In harnessing the power of novel technologies, including spectroscopy and proteomics, and applying them to a significant disease problem, the project will be breaking new ground at the interface of molecular, environmental, and health sciences. For full project details please follow the link - New tools, old ticks

A striking knowledge gap with respect to tick-borne diseases is the lack of quantitative information about how ticks interact with their biotic and abiotic environment. Ixodes ticks require a blood meal to develop into their next life stage (from larva to nymph and from nymph to adult). While they can feed on a range of different vertebrate hosts, only some host species are competent LB reservoirs. Thus, tick host choice has a profound effect on pathogen transmission. However, there are currently no established methods for determining which host species a tick has fed on, nor for determining how much time ticks are spending in one life stage before developing into the next. These technology gaps limit our understanding of how local environmental conditions (e.g. vertebrate host communities, climate) influence the ability of ticks to spread disease to people.

Requirements

Applicants should have a first or upper second class degree in a relevant science discipline (e.g. molecular biology, zoology, biochemistry, bioinformatics), be highly motivated and have excellent English communication skills. The successful candidate will need to be enthusiastic about acquiring new skills in an interdisciplinary setting and have a strong interest in biological processes as well as new technologies such as mass spec and infrared spectroscopy. Research experience, laboratory skills, knowledge about ecological fieldwork, and demonstrated ability to work independently will be considered an advantage.

There are no restrictions with respect to nationality or citizenship.

Candidates are asked to make informal contact prior to applying by contacting roman.biek@glasgow.ac.uk bffore Friday 22 January 2016.

 

 

 

 

Statistics/Antibiotic resistance:

New statistical tools for landscape models of antibiotic resistance

Project description: This project will develop new statistical methodologies to investigate geographic, demographic and environmental risk factors for antibiotic resistance. Antibiotic resistance is one of the world’s most urgent problems. An important knowledge gap surrounding the management and control of antibiotic resistance is the relative contribution of antibiotic use in livestock and humans to human resistance problems.The goal of this project is to expose the role that humans and animals play in the spread of antibiotic resistance, and strengthen capacity to predict and manage risks to humans, using multiple routinely available sources of data on resistance in humans and livestock across Scotland. Whilst government bodies are supporting the increased collation of data on resistance and antibiotic drug use, a key challenge over the next few years lies in the developing tools to analyse these data and also new genomic data as it comes on-stream. Therefore, an important aim of this project is to develop new statistical tools to facilitate the linkage, assimilation and analysis of disparate data sources arising from different sectors (e.g. medical, veterinary, environmental). The application, adaptation and improvement of state-of-the-art statistical pattern recognition techniques applied to these data, and the test of alternative hypotheses with the identification of key factors underlying the processes leading to the spread of antimicrobial resistance will be key elements of this studentship. 

The candidate will be jointly supervised by Dr Louise Matthews, an epidemiologist within the Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine and co-director of the Boyd Orr Centre for Population and Ecosystem Health www.gla.ac.uk/boydorr; Professors Marian Scott and Dirk Huismeier within the School of Mathematics and Statistics; and Professor Colin McCowan within The Robertson Centre for Biostatistics. The student will join a vibrant and collaborative group within the Boyd Orr Centre with a focus on developing novel science with real impact on important real world problems in medical, veterinary and ecosystem health.

Person Specification

We are looking for a talented individual with a strong quantitative background, ideally a first degree in Mathematics or Statistics or a biological background with suitable statistical training at undergraduate or Masters level, an interest in developing and applying statistical tools to ecosystems (human, environment and animal), and sound programming skills and a high level of computer literacy. We also require the candidate to have an enthusiasm for using statistics to tackle ecological problems, coupled with a willingness to engage with biologists, epidemiologists and also individuals from key stakeholder organisations such as Health Protection Scotland who are endorsing this project.

Application details

Before applying, interested applicants should contact either:

Dr Louise Matthews: Louise.matthews@glasgow.ac.uk or Professor Marian Scott: Marian.Scott@glasgow.ac.uk

Applications should be submitted by Friday 22 January 2016.

 

Molecular cell biology/Biochemistry and Biomedical engineering: 

Stress survival tactics – Intracellular protein sorting as a defence against oxidative stress

Project Description: All organisms encounter different environmental stresses. One such type of stress that has detrimental effects to cells is oxidative stress, which underpins severe human disorders like neurodegeneration, cardiovascular disease and cancer. In this project we will investigate a fundamentally novel mechanism underpinning the antioxidant cell response. The current dogma dictates that cells respond to oxidative stress by inducing gene expression of antioxidant proteins. This project will investigate a completely new oxidation defence mechanism whereby oxidation induces protein targeting to mitochondria by synthesising a new targeting peptide. Although mitochondria are primary targets of oxidants, coping with mitochondrial damage is not understood beyond the level of gene expression. This mechanism represents a paradigm shift as it links, for the first time, the antioxidant stress response to mitochondrial targeting.

Cell

The project will apply a highly interdisciplinary approach combining cell biology techniques in intact cells and isolated cell compartments, high-throughput peptide on chip chemistry techniques and advanced Imaging and microfluidics set-ups using model membranes and protocells at the nanoscale to characterise this new mode of entry to the mitochondria. These approaches push current state-of-the-art in the field and are highly synergistic in what they enable: the project relies on the application of the unique expertise of three collaborating groups from the Institutes of Molecular Cell and Systems Biology, Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences and the Biomedical Engineering group. Together, these approaches will foster a new area or research at the forefront of organellar cell biology, peptide chemistry and nanoscale biomedical engineering with substantial scientific outputs on a central problem of modern biology with an impact on human disease. The project will offer excellent interdisciplinary training in a wide spectrum of research skills combined with tailor-made transferable skills training and important opportunities for top-level international collaborations.

Person Specification: The successful candidate should have an excellent academic track record with a first class degree in one of biomedical/life sciences, chemistry or biomedical engineering with demonstrated lab experience in biochemistry or molecular cell biology. A Master’s degree qualification based on research is desirable. The scholar should have excellent written and presentation skills and a strong interest and appreciation of multidisciplinary work.

Application details: Candidates should contact the Lead Supervisor of the project (Professor Kostas Tokatlidis, email: kostas.tokatlidis@glasgow.ac.uk) to discuss their eligibility and interest for the project.

Applicants should submit applications by Friday 22 January 2016 attaching (i) a CV, (ii) a statement outlining their particular attributes, achievements and suitability for the project and (iii) two recommendation letters emailed to Prof Tokatlidis in support of their application.

 

Gut Microbiome/Immune System:

The Role of Gut Microbiota and its Metabolites in Regulating Immune Function

Project Outline: There is increasing evidence that microbial communities in the gut, “the gut microbiota”, play a role in maintaining a healthy immune system, and that changes in the microbiota are associated with inflammatory diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis and obesity. There is strong evidence showing short chain fatty acids (SCFAs), produced through fermentation of dietary fibres by the gut microbiota, induce immune regulation in the colon in animal models. However, evidence in humans is currently lacking because of the difficulty in delivering SCFAs directly to the human colon. We have developed a novel solution to this problem by using inulin SCFA esters to deliver SCFA directly to the colon. This technology has enabled new insights into the role of one SCFA, propionate, in appetite regulation, glucose homeostasis and weight management. ‌

Digestive system

This project aims to investigate the mechanisms by which SCFAs affect the intestinal microbiota and immune homeostasis. To achieve these aims, the student will be trained by experts in the gut microbiota, bioinformatics and intestinal immune function, with extensive experience in a combination of appropriate in vitro systems, animal and human models of disease, and investigations of the intestinal microbiota using “omics” technologies. A particular focus will be to understand whether SCFA can be exploited as potential therapies for inflammatory bowel disease and other autoimmune diseases. Full full project details please see Decoding molecular interactions between the gut microbiome & the immune system‌ ‌

Application details: Applications should contain the following: a) Covering letter, b) Candidate statement clearly articulating why you wish to pursue a research career, why this PhD opportunity is right for you and how you meet the person specification, and c) CV including details of scholarships/awards/prizes/other recognition of outstanding achievement and publications of previous research.

Potential applicants are encouraged to contact Dr Douglas Morrison to discuss the project and for further details (douglas.morrison@glasgow.ac.uk; Tel: 01355 270134). Applicants may submit an application at any time up until the application deadline of 22nd January 2016.

 

 

 

Synthetic Biology/Cell Biology:

Programmable vesicles for RNAi-based targeted drug delivery

Lipid vesicles

Project description: Silencing of genes via RNA interference (RNAi) is a promising method to therapeutically target disease-specific genes e.g. BRCA1 genes in breast cancer or apolipoprotein E in atherosclerosis, with high efficacy and limited side effects. However, the practical applications of RNAi-based therapies are currently limited by the rapid degradation of the RNAi outside of the cell and by a lack of safe and efficient delivery methods to target tissues. This PhD project will focus on the development of a novel, targeted drug delivery platform using "programmable vesicles" for the delivery of RNA-based therapies. Using state-of-the-art techniques, the successful candidate will work to develop lipid/polymer-based vesicle drug carrier platforms. These will be combined with, in-cell expression systems, to encapsulate and express proteins for target-cell adhesion and communication and to produce "fresh" siRNA at the target site. The model vesicles will be tested for their applications in the silencing of genes of interest in target cells using in vitro approaches in order to understand their potential for translation to medicine. 

This interdisciplinary PhD studentship will be based in the School of Chemistry, and will involve close collaborations with School of Engineering, Institute of Molecular, Cell and Systems Biology, and Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences in University of Glasgow.‌

Person Specification: The successful candidate is expected to have a 1st class or high 2:1 honours undergraduate degree, or Merit/Distinction master's degree in Science or Engineering. Basic understanding and lab experience in microbiology and molecular biology, as well as good communication, organisational and experimental skills, are essential. A master's degree or relevant experience in biological/medical science, particularly synthetic biology, cell-free protein expression system, lipid/polymer vesicles, microfluidics, and cell biology will be an advantage.

Application details: If you are interested in this project, please make contact with the Lead Supervisor (Soichiro.Tsuda@glasgow.ac.uk) to discuss the project details further as soon as possible. Please include "Lord Kelvin Adam Smith PhD Scholarship" in the email subject, and attach a copy of your CV and the names of two academic referees.

The application deadline is Friday 22 January 2016.

 

History of medicine/Refugee studies:

The medical history of the refugee camp

Project descriptionThis project will explore three main themes in the history of the refugee camp: the use of camps as a medical technology; refugee camps as a site of medical risk for those inhabiting them; and the camp as a ‘medicalizing’ technology.

 Refugee camp

Populations displaced by conflict, persecution, or natural disaster are often seen as being medically at risk, and as posing a medical risk to the host society. Refugee camps have been run in ways that aim, or claim, to reduce those risks: that is, the refugee camp has been a medical technology. By excluding and isolating refugees, it has aimed to protect the host society; by imposing sanitary and medical regimes, it has aimed to protect refugees from disease. But in many cases, camps have created medical risks for those inhabiting them. They have also been a medicalizing technology, serving to reduce complex political and diplomatic problems (how to integrate, repatriate, or resettle displaced populations) to a medical problem, requiring a technical solution rather than a political or diplomatic one.

Supervised by Dr Benjamin Thomas White (History), Prof Graham Watt (Primary Care and General Practice), and Prof Malcolm Nicolson (History of Medicine), the project will also involve a collaboration with the policy development and evaluation service of UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, based in Geneva.‌

Person specification: The successful applicant should have a first class/high 2:1 at undergraduate level, and have attained, or expect to attain, a distinction or high merit at Masters level. Their qualifications should be in a relevant discipline or disciplines, such as: history and/or history of medicine; public health or biomedical sciences, ideally with a record of interest in medical humanities; forced migration or area studies. Relevant work experience would be an advantage, but is not essential.

The successful applicant will clearly articulate their vision for the project and relate it to their previous experience. In dialogue with the supervision team, they will have wide scope to shape the research project according to their own interests and expertise—for example, by choosing the region and period of specialization and their own preferred methodological approaches. They will also have the opportunity to develop new subject and methodological expertise in the course of this four-year studentship, drawing on training available across several disciplines (for example, modules on the masters programmes in history, global public health, or history of medicine).

Application detailsPotential applicants are invited to contact the lead supervisor, Dr Benjamin Thomas White, to discuss the project: benjaminthomas.white@glasgow.ac.uk

Applicants may submit applications up until the application deadline of Friday 22 January 2016.

 

Theatre Studies, Geography, Sociology:

Geodiversity and human difference - disability, landscape form and process

 

Scottish Landscape

The project- This project works across ecological performance, geomorphology, human geographies of exclusion, and sociologies of disability to develop new understanding and accounts of the relationships between humans and environments.

Using empirical testimony of people with a range of disabilities alongside provocative and performative occupations of dynamic and hard-to-access landscape geographies, the project will explore the experience of being disabled in wild places. For full project details please follow the link: Geodiversity and human difference: disability, landscape form and process.

Person Specification: Applicants should normally have a first or upper second class degree in a relevant discipline (e.g. performance studies, geography, disability studies), have completed or be on course to complete a Master’s degree, and have experience of developing creative practice.

The successful candidate will need to be enthusiastic about acquiring new skills in an interdisciplinary setting and have a strong interest in disability and environment. A demonstrated ability to work independently as well as to forge networks will be considered an advantage.

Application details: 

Potential applicants are invited to contact Professor Deirdre Heddon (Deirdre.Heddon@glasgow.ac.uk) to discuss the project.

Applicants may submit applications up until the application deadline of Friday 22 January 2016.

 

Museum Information Management/Molecular Biology:

The application of next-generation DNA Sequencing to the eighteenth-century Hunterian anatomy collections for better understanding of disease evolution and its historic documentation.

Project description: This project will investigate the application of genomic DNA Sequencing and digital humanities methods to the Hunterian anatomy collections and associated archives to enable a better understanding of eighteenth-century disease, creating new knowledge about historic medical collections.

The project will develop an innovative, multidisciplinary, methodological approach to working with historic medical collections, integrating the lab work with archival and museum research. It will use polyomics and digital humanities methods for analysis of the eighteenth-century anatomy and pathology collections of Dr William Hunter (especially those related to tuberculosis (TB) and syphilis) and related archives at the University of Glasgow.

The project will bring together a supervisory team from Information Studies, Molecular Biology, and the Hunterian Museum. For full project details please see: The application of next- generation DNA Sequencing to anatomy collections

DNAPerson Specification

The successful candidate will have an excellent academic track record to date and a good first degree in either a scientific discipline with a strong interest or secondary area of focus in the humanities or museum informatics; OR a background in the humanities with a strong interest/secondary focus in scientific research. The scholar should have a strong appreciation of multidisciplinary work, and an interest in humanities and science collaboration.

An existing research interest in any of the multi disciplinary areas of focus required for combining scientific research with historical anatomy collections is particularly welcome, for example, molecular biology, museum information management, digital humanities, DNA sequencing or bioinformatics.

Experience in molecular biology lab work is essential

Application details: Applicants should make contact with any member of the supervision team well in advance of the application deadline to discuss their eligibility for the project (Prof. Lorna Hughes, HATII; Dr. Pawel Herzyk, Institute of Molecular Cell and Systems Biology; Mr. Mungo Campbell, Hunterian, Professor Michael Barrett, Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation ).

Applicants may submit applications up until the application deadline of Tuesday 12 January 2016.

 

 

 

The Pakistani economic diaspora in the United Kingdom from the 1950s to the present:  immigrant entrepreneurship, transnational networks and business implications.

A candidate has already been identified for this project.

Pakastani shop

A shortage of labour in the UK after the Second World War required the British government to allow immigrants from former colonies to enter the country. A large inflow of migrants, mainly from South Asia and in particular from its former colony of India, which had been partitioned in 1947 into Pakistan and India, was the result. When, however, employment opportunities declined, especially in textiles and other traditional manufacturing industries, particularly in the cities and mill towns of the north of England and Scotland, a large unemployed group of ethnic minorities was created. This had severe social consequences for many, but it also provided immigrant entrepreneurs an opportunity to establish small and medium-sized businesses in the UK using cheap family labour in small shops and other areas, businesses which could then develop through various innovations in practice or serve as a basis for moving into other sectors.

The research question for this thesis is:
How have opportunities for and the strategies of British-Pakistani entrepreneurs evolved since the 1950s, and what are the business related implications of this evolution in British-Pakistani business activity over time for the UK today?


This entails a number of research objectives to be addressed, including:


• Who were these entrepreneurs?
• What networks – transnational, familial and/or within the UK – did they benefit from in building their businesses and how?
• How have the institutional contexts in Pakistan and the UK affected their businesses?
• How have the businesses performed over time?
• How have strategies of these entrepreneurs evolved to take advantage of emerging opportunities and changing economic structures within Britain?
• What business practices have they adopted in the UK in relation to customer servicing, competition strategising, employee vision sharing and motivating, and innovating and entreneurising?

 

 

 

Intended and unintended consequences of graphic health warnings on young people:  the case of plain packaging. 

A candidate has already been identified for this project.

Tobacco consumption is the leading cause of death globally, killing half of all persistent smokers (Doll et al., 1994; 2004) and causing an estimated 100,000 million deaths annually in the UK (ASH 2014) and 6 million worldwide (WHO, 2015). Plain packaging (PP) is an innovative tobacco control policy, aiming at encouraging smoking cessation and preventing uptake (PA, 2011a). Systematic reviews demonstrate PP to reduce the appeal of cigarettes among adolescents (Chantler, 2014; Moodie et at, 2012, 2013). 

Cigarette packet

The research problem
The aim of PP is to reduce the appeal of cigarettes, discourage smoking uptake and motivate cessation. However, the policy’s use of fear appeals may cause unintended consequences. In particular, the use of fear-based GHW may impede positive engagement with anti-smoking messages among adolescents. A recent pilot study carried out at high schools in Glasgow (Tyczynska, 2015) – whose findings are consistent with studies on the use of fear appeal in other areas (Bell et al., 2010; Guttman and Salmon, 2004; Hastings, Stead and Webb, 2004; Peters, Ruiter and Kok, 2013; Thompson, Barnett and Pearce, 2009) – suggests three, especially alarming
adverse effects: (a) Young people react negatively to feelings of being paternalised, potentially fuelling desires to rebel against health messages; (b) the depiction of health consequences, which the target group cannot relate to – e.g., terminal cancers and gangrene – can provoke feelings of disengagement with health messages; (c) fear appeals can create a feeling of guilt and self-blame, which in turn impede self-efficacy beliefs that are important predictors of quit attempts (Baldwin, Baldwin and Ewald, 2006).

Aim
The research purpose is to improve the effectiveness of PP policy on adolescents. Given the rapidly growing international relevance and momentum of the policy, the PhD will combine a national and international focus. The specific aims are:

1. To test which existing GHWs – used in Australia, and about to be used in the UK – provoke unintended negative consequences among adolescents.
2. To develop and test alternative GHW that use non-fear-based creative appeals such as humour, self-esteem and happiness with regards to their ability to increase adolescents’ engagement with the anti-smoking message.
3. To assess whether GHWs have cross-cultural reach or need to be tailored to specific cultural contexts.

Documentation required from nominated candidates

  • A statement expressing your particular attributes, achievements and suitability to undertake the proposed project (applicants should pay particular attention to Appendix 1 on  page 11 of the Lord Kelvin Adam Smith Guidance Notes
  • 2 references in support of your application. (The references relevant to the application for admission to Glasgow for PhD study may be submitted to this process – they do not need to be tailored to this process.)
  • CV and degree transcripts
  • Candidates whose first language is not English must show evidence of appropriate competence in English in the form of a IELTS certificate or similar.