Development of cyanobacterial exopolysaccharides for healthcare applications

Lead Research Organisation: University of Glasgow
Department Name: College of Medical, Veterinary, Life Sci


Studentship strategic priority area:Bioenergy and Industrial Biotechnology
Keywords:Industrial Biotechnology, Synthetic Biology, Cyanobacteria, Microalgae, Polymers

Cyanobacteria are the "green E. coli" of Industrial Biotechnology. As photosynthetic prokaryotes they combine the advantages of algae and higher plants (photo-autotrophy, sustainability, CO2 usage) with those of bacterial systems (fast growth, easy culturing and transformability). Several research groups worldwide, including the groups at Glasgow University, have begun to assemble a molecular toolbox enabling Synthetic Biology and Industrial Biotechnology in cyanobacteria. Cyanobacteria produce exopolysaccharides, which are large polymers using a variety of sugars as building blocks. Both the size and the complexity of EPS from cyanobacteria exceed those found in other bacteria. In nature, EPS function in protection, detoxification and water storage. Due to their protective and emollient features they also have many commercial applications, particularly in the health care sector.

The aims of this PhD project are (1) to screen EPS of various cyanobacterial strains for beneficial properties, (2) to understand the molecular processes underpinning EPS synthesis, and (3) to develop synthetic biology processes to modulate their properties.
The student will receive ample training and benefit from excellent complementary track records of the academic supervisors in the areas of molecular and systems biology (Amtmann), synthetic biology (Colloms) and glycobiology (Glycomar).


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/R505195/1 30/09/2017 13/11/2019
1954229 Studentship BB/R505195/1 01/10/2017 06/01/2020