National Heart & Lung Institute (NHLI)

Direct Whole Genome Sequencing of Legionella” - National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Protection Research Unit (HPRU) in Respiratory Infections at Imperial College London

3yr PhD NHLI Funded studentship commencing in April 2015


Applications are invited from candidates with a Master’s degree (or equivalent) in Biological Sciences or a related discipline, for a 3 year PhD studentship to investigate Direct Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) of Legionella.

The project will be supported by the NIHR HPRU in Respiratory Infections at Imperial College London.  Our mission is to support Public Health England (PHE) by creating a centre-of-excellence to design, conduct and share internationally-leading multi-disciplinary research aimed at protecting and improving the public’s health.


The genus Legionella is a pathogenic group of Gram-negative bacteria that includes the species L. pneumophila, which causes Legionnaires' disease. The project will utilise cutting-edge approaches to evaluate WGS as an accurate tool for the identification and diagnosis of Legionella in clinical and environmental samples.  The project will aim to give increased discrimination for identifying respiratory pathogens, yield data on infections due to mixed types of Legionella, and detect other hard-to-culture pathogens in Legionella negative patients.  The outcome of this research will inform public health services and policy the UK.

The studentship will be funded for 3 years with a tax free bursary of £17,500 per annum. Tuition fees at the Home/EU rate will also be paid.

The student will primarily work within the group of Professor William Cookson and Professor Miriam Moffatt based in the Genomic Medicine Section of the National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London.  The project will be co-supervised by Dr Vicki Chalker in the Respiratory and Vaccine Preventable Bacteria Reference Unit at PHE and some work will also be carried out at PHE Colindale. 

The NIHR HPRU in Respiratory Infections is hosted by the National Heart and Lung Institute  and provides an exciting environment, with state of the art facilities and excellent opportunities for PhD student training including research seminars, journal clubs and provides extensive collaborative opportunities with our research partners.

 All students will belong to Imperial’s Graduate School which provides a comprehensive Professional Skills Programme and has received the Times Higher Award for Outstanding Support for Early Careers Researchers in 2006 and 2008.

How to Apply

Lab two girlsApplicants must hold, or expect to obtain, a first or upper second-class undergraduate degree or UK equivalent, along with a Masters, both in an appropriate subject from a recognised academic institution.  To apply please send a CV, a one page personal statement, and the names and addresses of at least two academic referees to Melanie Rees-Roberts by email on    

Please note that candidates must fulfil College admissions criteria.

Application deadline: 6 March 2015, 12pm


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