Assessing the therapeutic potential of plant-derived substances as anti-infective against antibiotic-resistant bacteria

Website Queen's University Belfast

Last Day to Apply: 1 August 2024

Project description
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has been declared by WHO as one of the most critical global public health threats facing humanity. The misuse and overuse of antimicrobials are major drivers to the development of drug-resistant pathogens. This project seeks to evaluate phytotherapeutics as safe, effective, and sustainable alternatives to antibiotics in combating AMR.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has been identified by WHO as among the most urgent global public health threats, affecting human, animal, and the environment in a One-Health context. In the absence of novel antibiotics in recent decades, drug-resistant microbes present a significant challenge to effective treatment worldwide, highlighting the importance of exploring alternative therapeutic approaches. Plants have evolved and developed a distinct arsenal of phytochemicals as their defence mechanism for survival against diverse microorganisms in the soil. Exploring the antibacterial properties of plants and phytochemicals may unveil their capacity to combat antibiotic-resistant organisms. Phytotherapy may serve to preserve the efficacy of current clinical antibiotics of the last resort, while also attributing to the development of safe, efficient, and sustainable antimicrobials in food animal production. By mitigating the need for antibiotics and reducing environmental pollution stemming from agricultural waste, this approach presents a viable avenue towards enhanced health and sustainability.Our previous studies have identified several plants that exhibit powerful antibacterial properties, either on their own or when used in conjunction with conventional antibiotics. This project seeks to scientifically validate the effectiveness across diverse strains and clinical isolates to determine their antibacterial spectrum. It will employ contemporary scientific tools and technological platforms, bridging multiple disciplines including microbiology, biochemistry, molecular biology, and biotechnology.

Entrance Requirements
The minimum academic requirement for admission to a research degree programme is normally an Upper Second Class Honours degree in a relevant subject from a UK or ROI HE provider, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University. Further information can be obtained by contacting the School.

International Students
For information on international qualification equivalents, please check the specific information for your country.

English Language Requirements
Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.5, with not less than 5.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required (*taken within the last 2 years).

International students wishing to apply to Queen’s University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.

For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see:

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen’s University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.

Fees and funding:
1 EU citizens in the EU Settlement Scheme, with settled or pre-settled status, are expected to be charged the NI or GB tuition fee based on where they are ordinarily resident, however this is provisional and subject to the publication of the Northern Ireland Assembly Student Fees Regulations. Students who are ROI nationals resident in GB are expected to be charged the GB fee, however this is provisional and subject to the publication of the Northern Ireland Assembly student fees Regulations.

2 It is expected that EU students who are ROI nationals resident in ROI will be eligible for NI tuition fees. The tuition fee set out above is provisional and subject to the publication of the Northern Ireland Assembly student fees Regulations.

3 EU Other students (excludes Republic of Ireland nationals living in GB, NI or ROI) are charged tuition fees in line with international fees.

All tuition fees quoted are for the academic year 2021-22, and relate to a single year of study unless stated otherwise. Tuition fees will be subject to an annual inflationary increase, unless explicitly stated otherwise.

Biological Sciences costs
Students may incur additional costs for small items of clothing and/or equipment necessary for lab or field work

Additional course costs

All Students
Depending on the programme of study, there may also be other extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies . Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen’s library. If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. Students should also budget between £30 to £100 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges. Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen. There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, and library fines. In undertaking a research project students may incur costs associated with transport and/or materials, and there will also be additional costs for printing and binding the thesis. There may also be individually tailored research project expenses and students should consult directly with the School for further information.

Bench fees
Some research programmes incur an additional annual charge on top of the tuition fees, often referred to as a bench fee. Bench fees are charged when a programme (or a specific project) incurs extra costs such as those involved with specialist laboratory or field work. If you are required to pay bench fees they will be detailed on your offer letter. If you have any questions about Bench Fees these should be raised with your School at the application stage. Please note that, if you are being funded you will need to ensure your sponsor is aware of and has agreed to fund these additional costs before accepting your place.

Dr Chen Situ

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