Development of a novel antibacterial resin-based silver nanocoating to protect patients from bioaerosol infections in hospitals

Development of a novel antibacterial resin-based silver nanocoating to protect patients from bioaerosol infections in hospitals

DoS: Dr Alexander Besinis 

Second Supervisor: Dr Mathew Upton

Third supervisor: Dr Peter Jenks

Fourth supervisor: Dr Garry Farnham

Applications are invited for a three year PhD studentship. The studentship will start on 1 October 2018.

Project description

This project is an exciting opportunity to develop novel antibacterial resin-based silver nanocoated surfaces to reduce healthcare associated, drug resistant infections. The interdisciplinary project combines nanotechnology with leading microbiology expertise, in a real-world clinical setting to investigate the efficacy of antibacterial surfaces in reducing microbial colonisation of hospital sanitary plumbing systems (SPS).

Healthcare Associated Infections (HCAI) and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) are leading priorities for the NHS. One source of HCAI is bacteria forming extensive biofilms in SPS, including sink traps (U-bends). These SPS biofilms are ideal breeding grounds for AMR and they represent a key source of bioaerosols that can escape into surrounding room spaces, exposing vulnerable patients to a high risk of infections. Controlling this reservoir could substantially reduce drug resistant HCAI.

Metal nanoparticles offer an attractive antibacterial solution, as they are not affected by acquired resistance to currently available antibiotics and they have longer term efficacy than traditional disinfectants. We have successfully developed and applied novel nanocoatings to inhibit biofilm formation on human tissues and medical implants. In this project, we will develop similar surfaces for use in SPS. The effect of novel surfaces will be evaluated in a laboratory setting and leading candidates tested in clinical SPS, with impact on bacterial loads assessed using culture and DNA sequence based approaches.

The successful candidate will work in a team of bioengineers and academic and clinical microbiologists, with excellent training provided at the School of Engineering, Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry and Plymouth Derriford Hospital NHS Trust.


Applicants should have (or expect to obtain) a first or upper second class honours degree in an appropriate subject. A relevant MSc or MRes qualification is highly desirable.

The studentship is supported for three years and includes full Home/EU tuition fees plus a stipend of £14,777 per annum. The studentship will only fully fund those applicants who are eligible for Home/EU fees with relevant qualifications. Applicants normally required to cover overseas fees will have to cover the difference between the Home/EU and the overseas tuition fee rates (approximately £10,350 per annum).

If you wish to discuss this project further informally, please contact Dr Alexander Besinis. However, applications must be made in accordance with the details shown below.

General information about applying for a research degree at the University is available at: 

Please apply via the online application form which can be found at: and select ‘Apply’.

Please mark it FAO Aimee McNeillie, clearly stating that you are applying for a PhD studentship within the School of Engineering. Please attach a covering letter detailing your suitability for the studentship, a CV and two academic references.

For more information on the admissions process, please contact Aimee McNeillie.

The closing date for applications is 12 noon, 9 April 2018. 

Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview week beginning 30 April 2018. We regret that we may not be able to respond to all applications. Applicants who have not received an offer by end of April should consider their application has been unsuccessful.