PhD Scholarship – The regulation of acid resistance in Listeria monocytogenes

  • Training/Education
  • Ireland
  • Posted 2 months ago

University of Galway

Fully Funded PhD Scholarship in Phd Scholarship in The regulation of acid resistance in Listeria monocytogenes

College of Science and Engineering, School of Biological & Chemical Science, Microbiology

Applicants are invited from suitably qualified candidates for full-time funded PhD scholarship starting in May 2023 affiliated to the College of Science and Engineering, Biological & Chemical Science, Microbiology at the University of Galway.

University of Galway:

Located in the vibrant cultural city of Galway in the west of Ireland, with over 18,000 students and more than 2,400 staff, the University of Galway has a distinguished reputation for teaching and research excellence

The successful candidate(s) will undertake training and research on a project focused on elucidating the role of a novel regulator of acid resistance in the food-borne pathogen Listeria monocytogenes.

Brief Project Description:

The bacterial pathogen Listeria monocytogenes is a leading cause of food-borne zoonotic infections in Europe and globally. It has the capacity to survive low pH environments, which contributes to persistence in the food chain and colonisation of the human host. While some of the mechanisms underpinning acid resistance are known, a major gap is knowledge centres on the regulatory mechanisms used by the pathogen to deploy these mechanisms. This SFIfunded project will focus on a newly identified transcriptional regulator that appears to play a key role in activating acid resistance in response to mild acidic stress.

Detailed Project Description:

Understanding how food-borne pathogens regulate their response to acid is essential to controlling their survival in the food chain and their entry into the gastrointestinal tract. Recent unpublished data from the Prof OByrne’sresearch group has led to the discovery of a novel transcriptional regulator, which appears to play a critical role in controlling acid resistance in the food-borne pathogen Listeria monocytogenes. Although several protective mechanisms contributing to acid resistance have been described in this important pathogen, the regulatory factors controlling this phenotype are largely unknown. The overall aim of this SFI-funded project will be to characterise the function of this regulator and to determine the regulatory mechanisms that underpin its activation of the response to acid stress. This overall aim will be achieved by implementing a work programme that focusses on five specific objectives:

Objective 1: Genetically determine the contribution of the newly discovered regulator to stress resistance in Listeria monocytogenes in vitro and in food;

Objective 2: Determine the factors that influence the transcription, translation and activity of this regulator;

Objective 3: Quantify the impact of the new regulator on global transcription in L. monocytogenes;

Objective 4: Determine its contribution to virulence and colonisation of the gastrointestinal tract using a murine model;

Objective 5: Elucidate how its activity is controlled post-translationally.

The PhD student recruited to the project will work closely with a post-doctoral researcher to achieve these objectives. Recent publications from Prof O’Byrne’s research lab, the Bacterial Stress Response Group, can be viewed on Google Scholar here (

Living allowance (Stipend): €18,500 per annum, [tax-exempt scholarship award]

University fees: €5,526 (covered by scholarship)

Start date: May 1st 2023 (negotiable)

Academic Entry Requirements: A minimum of an upper 2nd class (2-1) honours BSc degree, or equivalent, in Microbiology or a related discipline is essential. A high level of spoken and written English is essential. An MSc in Microbiology or a related discipline would be advantageous but is not essential.

To Apply for the Scholarship:

Expressions of interest should include a cover letter explaining your motivation to pursue a PhD in this area and highlighting the reasons for your suitability, as well as short CV summarising your qualifications and relevant experience. Please also include the contact details of two referees. Applications to be submitted via e-mail to:

Contact Name: Prof Conor O’Byrne

Contact Email:

Application Deadline: [date:: 08 /03 / 2023 ] and time 1700 (Irish time 24hr format)

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