PhD Studentship - Developing hospital surface sampling protocols for better IP&C

Updated: about 9 hours ago
Location: London, ENGLAND
Deadline: 07 Aug 2020

UCL Department / Division
Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering
Location of position
Duration of Studentship
3 years full time
Fully funded 3-year PhD studentship
Vacancy Information
The Healthy Infrastructure Research Group (, based at the University College London, is looking for an enthusiastic PhD student to join our team. The group carries out research into how microbes interact with the built environment and how the transmission of infectious disease can be prevented. The group is housed in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering in a category 2 microbiology laboratory and works closely with a number of London hospitals Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Teams.
Studentship Description
We have secured funding for a 3-year full-time PhD studentship from the Healthcare Infection Society. Only one such large grant is awarded by the society each year. The studentship is a collaboration with Great Ormond Street Hospital, one of the leading paediatric hospitals in the UK. 
We now know that surfaces in the clinical environment can be reservoirs of infectious agents. The aim of the studentship is to collect evidence which will allow for the development of a selection of surface sampling protocols for IPC teams. The protocols will vary in intensity allowing IPC teams to tailor them according to the resources available. 
The research will involve: taking samples in different hospital environments; using microbial culture methods to isolate specific pathogens; using antibiotic susceptibility testing to characterise the culturable organisms; using molecular biology methods to profile the total microbial communities present in the samples; using qPCR analysis to quantify viral presence in the samples. The collected data will then be consolidated to investigate any trends and develop the sampling protocols. During the studentship, the student will consult with clinicians, cleaners, patients and their parents in order to develop guidance for best practice when sampling the hospital surface environment, which will reduce infection rates and lead to better patient outcomes
Person Specification
We are looking for an enthusiastic and curious individual with a background in life or medical science. Some experience of molecular biology methods and bioinformatics would be desirable, though not essential. You will be part of a busy team and will need to work well with the rest of the team. You will also be expected to work independently and come up with your own research questions. The supervisory team will consist of Dr Lena Ciric (primary supervisor), Dr Elaine Cloutman-Green (Great Ormond St, subsidiary supervisor) and Mr Martin Kiernan (University of West London and Nightingale Hospital, subsidiary hospital). The research will include interactions with hospital staff and patients, so you must be a good communicator.
Applicants must have an undergraduate degree and an MSc. The studentship is available to UK and EU applicants. 
To be eligible to pay fees at the UK/EU rate, you must normally be a national of an EU country, or the relevant family member of an EU national, and have been ordinarily resident within the European Economic Area (EEA), Switzerland or EU Overseas Territories for the 3 year period before the first day of the first academic year of your programme. Please see the UCL Student fee status page to determine your appropriate tuition fee.
Applicants should send a covering letter and CV to Dr Lena Ciric ( The successful applicant will then have to apply online to UCL by submitting the PhD application form which they can do by clicking on the Apply now button at the bottom of this page: 
Please name Dr Lena Ciric as the proposed supervisor.
Contact name
Dr Lena Ciric
Contact details
UCL Taking Action for Equality
Closing Date
7 Aug 2020
Latest time for the submission of applications
Interview date
Studentship Start Date
4th January 2021
View or Apply

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