Living Systems Institute

Gielen Group

Interdisciplinary PhD position available starting October 2024: Novel high-throughput microfluidic technologies for the screening of bacteriophages eradicating bacterial biofilms


Antimicrobial resistance has evolved into a major healthcare threat which is further exacerbated by the diminished number of antibiotics in development. Bacterial biofilms pose a particular health threat as they display high resistance to antimicrobials and cause chronic infections in humans. This PhD project aims at identifying strategies to disrupt biofilm formation by understanding relationships between bacterial genotypes, biofilm phenotypes and related antibiotic resistance.

In this project, we will combine cutting-edge high-throughput screening technologies in microfluidic droplets with bacterial mutant libraries. Each droplet, whose volume typically ranges from femto to nanoliter scale represents a single reaction in which millions of individual biofilms can be formed and processed.

The team has complementary experience on the topic: Dr. Gielen’s lab develops high-throughput microfluidic imaging and selection platforms for screening single cell libraries. Dr. Remy Chait (University of Exeter, Biosciences) is expert in bacterial signal transduction and antimicrobial resistance.

Further reading:

1 Tiwari, A., Nikolic, N., Anagnostidis, V. & Gielen, F. Label-free analysis of bacterial growth and lysis at the single-cell level using droplet microfluidics and object detection-oriented deep learning. bioRxiv, doi:10.1101/2023.06.27.546533 (2023).

2 Nikolic, N., Anagnostidis, V., Tiwari, A., Chait, R. & Gielen, F. Investigating bacteria-phage interaction dynamics using droplet-based technology. BioRxiv, doi:10.1101/2023.07.14.549014 (2023).