Postgraduate research opportunities

Design of Functional Chitosan Films: Antimicrobial and Heavy Metal Capture Applications

Drug Discovery

Number of places



Home fee, Stipend


9 March 2020


31 May 2020


36 Months


Students applying should have (or expect to achieve) a minimum 2.1 undergraduate degree in a relevant engineering/science discipline, and an interest in computational research as well as experimental experience. They should also be highly motivated to undertake multidisciplinary research. Experience of biochemistry techniques will be an advantage.

Project Details

Chitosan is a biodegradable polymer obtained from natural, abundant and renewable sources. Chitosan has been the focus of much research into its applications as an antimicrobial, and for its ability to capture heavy metals from contaminated water. To impart mechanical strength, chitosan can be deposited as a thin film onto a supporting substrate, which might be in the form of nanoparticles, fibres, or large surface-area materials. In order to optimise the functionality of these chitosan films, a fundamental understanding of the nature of the interactions between the chitosan and the substrate is required. It is the purpose of this project to provide this insight using molecular modelling, and hence design, manufacture and test new functional coatings with tremendous potential for technological applications. 

The project will be undertaken in partnership with Cuantec Ltd, a Glasgow-based biotech company that has developed a unique biological process to extract chitin from the waste produced by fishery processing, from which it makes chitosan. It is funded through the IBioIC Collaborative Training Partnership (, which provides its students with the skills required to significantly contribute to the growth of biotechnology industry. In addition, the PhD student will also register for the Postgraduate Certificate in Researcher Development (PGCert), which is a supplementary qualification that develops a student’s skills, networks and career prospects.


 Techniques used:

 Molecular Dynamics Simulation, developing surface coatings, ELISAs, anti-microbial assays

Funding Details

The studentship fully covers the fees and stipend for UK students. EU students are only eligible if they have been resident in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of studentship.


Primary Supervisor: Paul Mulheran



Secondary Supervisor: Valerie Ferro


Contact us

Miss Ewa Kosciuk

+44(0) 141 548 2835

James Weir Building, 75 Montrose Street, Glasgow, G1 1XJ

How to apply

Apply for this project here – please quote the project title in your application.

During the application you'll be asked for the following information and evidence uploaded to the application:

  • your full contact details
  • transcripts and certificates of all degrees
  • proof of English language proficiency if you are not from a majority English-speaking country as recognised by UKVI
  • two references, one of which must be academic. Please see our guidance on referees
  • funding or scholarship information
  • international students must declare any previous UK study

By filling these details out as fully as possible, you'll avoid any delay to your application being processed by the University