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Projects Available

The Institute is seeking suitable candidates to fill several MSc, PhD and Post Doctoral positions available on offer for 2013. Projects available and the respective Principle Supervisor are detailed below.

Applications should be made directly to the Principle Supervisors:

Prof Marla Tuffin:     ituffin@uwc.ac.za

Dr Bronwyn Kirby:    bkirby@uwc.ac.za

Please note that PhD and Masters bursaries can only be awarded to South African citizens. Self-funded non-South African applicants are welcome to apply.

Projects

Bacteriophage Ecology and Biotechnology                       

2.jpgSupervisor:  Prof Tuffin

Using high throughput sequencing metaviromic studies and novel culturing technologies, the projects aim to understand their ecological role of bacteriophages in the regulation of bacterial community shifts. Due to the enormous untapped genetic capacity as a biotechnological resource, the projects include screening for new enzymes and the development as genetic tools for industrially relevant microorganisms.

Novel Marine Drugs through Metagenomics         

3.jpgSupervisor:  Prof Tuffin

The 3000 km long southern African coast is characterized by high levels of marine species endemism, offering exceptional opportunity to discover both new enzymes and novel natural products with pharmacological application. This project involves the isolation of polyketide synthase operons encoding novel bioactive compounds from prokaryotes associated with marine invertebrates and sediments. The methods employed are aimed to overcome two of the major bottlenecks which are hindering the discovery and development of pharmacologically active compounds.

 

Delivering on Metagenomic Promises                       

4.jpgSupervisor: Prof Tuffin

This project involves the development of innovative and sophisticated high throughput technologies to overcome the many limitations associated with metagenomics, and to truly tap into the metagenomic potential.



Screening for novel endophytic actinobacteria from medicinal fynbos species    

7.jpgSupervisor:  Dr Kirby

Isolates will be screened for the production of antibiotics using a combination of traditional microbiological techniques and molecular biology including next generation sequencing.

 

Polyurethane foam microbial communities for the removal of contaminants from industrial wastewater           

8.jpg

Supervisor:  Dr Kirby

The treatment of wastewater by microorganisms is considered to be the most economical and efficient means of eliminating pollutants. The aims of this project are to establish microbial communities on polyurethane foam seeded with organisms from natural environments and culture collections. These communities will be screened for the ability to degrade pollutants commonly found in industrial wastewater.

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