PhD Studentship in Bacterial Microcompartment Engineering for EU Students in Ireland

  • Phd
  • €18,000 p/a
  • 7 September 2020

Bacterial cytoplasmic metabolism is not a collection of free enzymes and substrates. Twenty percent of bacteria compartmentalize their cytoplasm to protect it from specific enzyme-catalysed metabolic activities with toxic small-molecule intermediates by placing the enzymes within thin-shelled selectively-permeable protein microcompartments. In this study, the student will help to exploit microcompartments to help bacterial production of toxic recombinant proteins for cancer therapy, by building up microcompartments round the toxic proteins as E. coli makes them. Other potential aspects of microcompartment study will include: the use of small molecules to prevent cross-linking to try to stop bacteria making their own microcompartments, potentially an effective treatment, or investigations of the role of microcompartments in assisting E. coli, the commonest bacterium causing urinary tract infection, to grow in the urinary tract.

Key duties and responsibilities

  • The PhD candidate will conduct a specified programme of research under the supervision of Prof. Michael Prentice.
  • The successful candidate must be able to apply microbiology and molecular biology skills in the laboratory. Significant interdisciplinary interactions with collaborators in UCC and externally (UK) will be required.
  • Good communication, organisation, interpersonal skills and the ability to work within a project team are essential.

Additional tasks will include:

  • The dissemination of results at conferences and through scientific articles.
  • Attendance at postgraduate training courses.
  • Regular reporting of research data.
  • Involvement in Educational and Public Engagement (EPE) activities.
  • Occasional laboratory supervision Bachelor or Master students.
University College Cork
This is a scholarship by

University College Cork

The university was founded in 1845 as one of three Queen’s Colleges located in Belfast, Cork, and Galway.

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  • Minimum 2:1 undergraduate degree (or equivalent) in Microbiology or a similar discipline.
  • Enthusiasm and an awareness of Microbiology issues in society.
  • Applicants whose first language is not English must show evidence of English proficiency, please check the minimum requirements at:


Do you wish to become an international student next year?
Demonstrate your English skills with IELTS.


This full-time PhD position is funded by Sceince Foundation Ireland for up to 4 years including a stipend of €18,000 per annum. The studentship will cover fees at the rate for EU students.

The scholarship for the PhD degree is subjected to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes at UCC.


To apply please email the following information to Prof. Michael Prentice (

as a single PDF file:

  • A one-page cover letter outlining any relevant experience and your reasons for wanting to participate in the project.
  • A Curriculum Vitae including your education history, courses, awards and skills. Also, if appropriate, please include details of any publications and conference presentations.

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