Microbial Bioprocessing and Functional Magnetic Nanomaterials

Aston University

School of Engineering & Applied Science

Project Description

Applications are invited for a three-year Postgraduate studentship, supported by the School of Engineering and Applied Science, to be undertaken within the Aston Institute of Materials Research (AIMR) and the Energy and Bioproducts Research Institute (EBRI) groups. The successful applicant will join an established experimental group working on the production of functional and biologically synthesised materials for healthcare and biotechnological applications.

It is expected that the next generation of functional materials will be able to circumvent many of the current limitations in the healthcare and biotechnological industries and will allow the development of novel and unexplored applications. This project will aim to understand and further improve current biomanufacturing (bioprocessing) strategies for the production of biologically synthesised magnetic nanoparticles, namely magnetosomes that are naturally produced in magnetotactic bacteria and have a great potential to become the next generation of functional materials. The end goal will be to achieve higher magnetosome yields and develop scalable production process at reduced costs.

Funding Information

This is a self-funded 3-year PhD project offer and applications are invited all year round from EU/UK and overseas candidates. Information about tuition fees can be found here.

Eligibility Requirements

The successful applicant should have a first class or upper second-class honours degree or equivalent qualification in bio/chemical engineering, biotechnology or any other relevant subject area. Skill requirements in one or more of the following disciplines is preferred: knowledge/experience of fermentation technology, microbiology, bioanalytical techniques and nanotechnologies.

We would particularly like to encourage applications from people seeking to progress their academic careers. Aston University is committed to the principles of the Athena SWAN Charter, recognised recently by a prestigious Silver Award to EAS, and we pride ourselves on our vibrant, friendly and supportive working environment and family atmosphere.


  • BSc or MSc qualification in Biochemical Engineeering, Biotechnology, Environmental Sciences or equivalent
  • Experience in experimental work, intermediate use of Microsoft Office and use of statistical analysis tools
  • Knowledge of aseptic techniques, microbiology and bioanalytical techniques
  • Knowledge in bioreactors, fermentation technology or genetic engineering is an asset
  • English Language (Overall min score 6.5 IELTS).

Application Process

Prospective applicants are encouraged to informally approach Dr Alfred Fernandez-Castane via email ([email protected]) before submitting their application.

Please make sure to clearly mention in your personal statement how you are planning to cover the cost of the PhD studies (tuition fees and living costs).

If you are interested in a PhD project at Aston University, please read the guidance notes and complete the application form.

From the drop-down options, select School of Engineering and Applied Sciences; October; Full Time; Postgraduate Research; Research Chemical Engineering (Full Time April 2020- An option for July/ October 2020 is also possible).

The application should clearly indicate the title of the offered research topic as well as the name of the main supervisor (Dr Alfred Fernandez-Castane). Applications should provide a research proposal describing your intended research methods and plan, supported by an appropriate literature review on the selected topic.

The applicants should also demonstrate how their knowledge and experience will benefit the project.

Early application is recommended, as the vacant will be open until filled with the suitable candidate. The position is available to start in April, July or October 2020 (subject to negotiation).

To apply for this PhD, please use the following application link: https://www2.aston.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/apply