PhD Scholarschip in Microbiology at CTHB - University of Pretoria
Closing Date: 20th January 2020
The Nanobiotechnology Research Group in the Department of Biotechnology at the University of the Western Cape herewith invites potential students to enrol for an NRF-funded PhD or MSc degree to develop drug delivery systems for obesity. If interested, you may start either in the second semester of 2019 or the beginning of January 2020.
Obesity is a complex metabolic disease that poses serious public health problems worldwide. It is a risk factor for various life threatening chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease, hypertension, dyslipidemia, atherosclerosis and osteoarthritis. Treatment of obesity using anti-obesity drugs, is limited by their non-specificity, and most of them have been withdrawn from the market due to severe adverse side effects. Therefore, there is an urgent need for the development of safe and effective drugs and treatment approaches in order to curb the obesity epidemic.
Our lab and others have shown that inhibiting angiogenesis by targeting a protein expressed on dysfunctional cells lining the blood vessels represents a promising strategy for obesity treatment. However, this strategy is limited by the use of only one targeting peptide. Thus, we want to discover other novel, specific and selective targeting agents to use for obesity treatment.
An in vivo model of obesity will be used to isolate potential targeting molecules. These agents will further be validated in cell culture for use as active targeting agents for obesity treatment. The selected agents will then be used to develop drug delivery systems for obesity treatment.
Studentships (MSc and PhD) with bursary funding for South African citizens are available. Experience in either cell biology, histology, biochemistry, microbiology, pharmacy or molecular biology (especially PCR) is required.
The Nanobiotechnology Research Group in the Biotechnology Department at the University of the University of the Western Cape herewith invites potential students to enrol for THRIP-funded PhD or MSc degree to develop nano-enabled wound dressing for chronic wounds and burns. If interested, you may start either in the second semester of 2019, or the beginning of January 2020.
An effective and complete process of wound healing is critical for the general well-being of patients, including burn victims and people living with diabetes. Current clinical treatments of wounds and ulcers, including topical antimicrobial agents, while useful, are ineffective against resistant microorganisms. The increasing prevalence of burns and chronic wounds raises the need for development of novel antimicrobial and wound healing agents that do not suffer the same fate. Recent development in nanotechnology for medical and pharmaceutical applications provide great opportunities for improving chronic wound treatments.
Our lab intends to use nanotechnology and plant biodiversity for the production of nanoparticles, and study their cellular and molecular effects during wound healing, in order to improve future therapeutic interventions. In turn, these novel nanotechnology-based materials will be incorporated in advanced medical devices. The incumbent student will participate in industry-related development activities for the production of the nano-enabled devices.
Studentships (MSc and PhD) with bursary funding for South African citizens are available for 3 years. Experience in either nanotechnology, cell biology, histology, biochemistry, microbiology or molecular biology is required.
We are looking for a capable and energetic PhD student to work on a multidisciplinary project on the microbiome of wheat under Conservation Agriculture. The project will involve high throughput amplicon sequencing and qPCR methods, among others. The project is funded by the NRF, and there is a bursary available, however, preference will be given to students who already have their own bursary. The ideal candidate should have completed a MSc degree in Microbiology, Genetics or Biochemistry or any related field with a strong background in molecular biology. Preference will also be given to South African citizens.
Identifying novel DNA modifying enzymes by functional metagenomics
Be part of an exciting collaborative study involving regional and international collaboration between the University of Venda, Rhodes University (South Africa) and Phillips-Marburg University, Germany. The project is funded by the Germany Research Foundation (DFG) under the auspices of the Germany-Africa Collaboration in Infectology initiative.
Plant biomass-derived bioethanol is regarded as a leading alternative energy source in a fossil fuel dependent energy paradigm. Bioethanol functions as octane enhancer, and can be used to replace up to 15% of petrol. It also acts as a fuel oxygenate in petrol blends allowing more complete combustion and hence, decreased polluting emissions. The departments of Microbiology and Process Engineering at Stellenbosch University, through the South African Research Chair (SARChI) in Biofuels, are at the forefront of South African research to address the shortcomings of plant polysaccharide conversion to bioethanol. Strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae were engineered to simultaneously hydrolyse plant materials (cellulose and raw starch) and ferment the resulting monosaccharides through the development of enabling technologies such as advanced plant polysaccharides pretreatment and advanced Consolidated Bioprocessing (CBP). Simplification and cost-reduction of the hydrolysis-fermentation process can be further achieved by integrating superior enzymatic hydrolysis and fermentation with more robust yeast into a single unit operation. To achieve this, supportive bioinformatics research dedicated to solving current problems in bioethanol biotechnology, specifically improved industrial performance of yeast strains and improved catalytic efficiency of enzyme hydrolysis, remain key.
The Bacterial Genomics and Host Pathogen Interactions group is based at the University of Pretoria, Forestry, Agriculture and Biotechnology Institute. Our research focuses on the interaction on potato plant interactions with one of their major bacteria pathogens Soft Rot Enterobacteriaceae (SRE). To understand these interactions we use genomics, transcriptomics, and other ‘omics’ to identify bacterial virulence factors as well as elucidate host defence mechanisms being targeted by these virulence factors. The following projects are currently available in the research group.