Cross-Department Graduate School Studentships
In 2010 we had the opportunity to fund a number of PhDs within the Faculty. As part of an ongoing drive to enhance cross-departmental activities these studentships were chosen to be exclusively interdisciplinary.
There was a very positive response from both academics and high calibre applicants, resulting in the funding of the exciting projects listed below.
If you are interested in undertaking a PhD please see our Funding and other pages or email the Graduate School email@example.com.
Antimicrobials From Previously Unexplored Bacterial Sources
Supervisors: Steven Bull and Nicholas Waterfield
The aim is to prepare libraries of compounds based on the natural product Rhabduscin, a glycoside found in the insect pathogens Xenorhabdus and Photorhabdus. Rhabduscin may be deployed by these pathogens to combat the immune system of the host insect, and could provide the lead for new anti-microbials.
The development and implementation of analytic approaches for combining heterogeneous networks
Supervisors: Dick James and Nick Priest
Biological systems are inherently complex. In recent years network analytical approaches have been developed to help understand this complexity. However, one of the fundamental restrictions of these network methods is that they usually deal only with a single type of relation among the agents of interest. My research will apply novel analytical approaches to combine networks based on different types of inter-agent relation.
Characterisation of lipid phosphatases involved in immune cell migration
Supervisors: Stephen Ward and Will Wood
Selective phosphoinositide 3 kinase (PI3K) inhibitors are currently being investigated as a potential treatment of autoimmune diseases. Targeting lipid phosphatases that regulate cellular levels of PI(3,4,5)P3 offers the same therapeutic benefits as inhibition of PI3K and may offer more tractable targets in the longer term. The main aim of this study is to investigate lipid phosphatases in human primary or leukaemic T lymphocytes, and to identify lipid phosphatase homologues in Drosophila, to establish whether they contribute to immune cell sensing of tissue damage cues and subsequent wound healing.
Characterisation of dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs) for process control
Supervisors: Alison Walker and Petra Cameron
DSCs are attracting attention as a promising approach towards energy crisis due to their low-cost and high efficiency, compared to traditional solar cells. The structure of the nanoporous crystalline titanium thin film yields a high surface area which can accommodate a large amount of sensitising dye and in turn effective photocurrent generation. Joint experimental and modelling studies are being undertaken to improve the efficiency of these cells and why they degrade. We work with the group at SPECIFIC (The Sustainable Product Engineering Centre for Innovative Functional Industrial Coatings) at Swansea who study steel plates for roofing that are coated with DSCs to generate power.
Surgical nanotools for atomic force microscopic investigation of human skin cells
Supervisors: Sergey Gordeev, Richard Guy and Rex Tyrrell
Atomic force microscope "nanotools", such as nanoneedles and nanoscalpels, will be used to perform nanosurgery of cells (known as corneocytes) harvested from the outer layers of human skin. The nanomechanical properties of corneocytes will be studied to shed more light on our understanding of the intrinsic mechanisms of various cellular processes, in particular, those related to skin ageing, and to ageing induced by sun exposure.
Analysis of Yes-associated protein (YAP) in liver development, regeneration and cancer
Supervisors: Makoto Furutani-Seiki, David Tosh, Melanie Welham
Yes-associated protein (YAP) functions as a transcriptional co-activator and is the nuclear executor of the Hippo pathway, which plays a critical role in regulating both, organ size and cell expansion. The mechanisms underlying liver size expansion, carcinogenesis and the relationship between the two remain largely unknown.
Developing a systems approach to understanding the gene regulatory network underlying pigment cell development
Supervisors: Robert Kelsh, Hartmut Schwetlick
Multicellular organisms are formed by different cell-types, all of them produced using a single genome. The process of stem cell differentiation involves a large number of genes and complex interactions between them, forming a complicated network. I will use a systems biology approach to develop a model of the gene regulatory network underlying pigment cells development, in order to explain how cell differentiation from a multipotent stem cell might work.
Cylindricity in computational geometry
Supervisors: James Davenport and Gregory Sankaran
Computational problems in quantifier elimination led to cylindricity, which is a concept defined in terms of the order of variables, and inequalities between the values of these variables. Recently a more abstract definition of cylindricity has been given, and this project will explore the connections between these definitions, and the implications in practice.