Skip to main content
School of Biological and Behavioural Sciences

A cell-free synthetic biology approach to counter antimicrobial resistance

Supervisor: Dr Simon Moore

About the Project


Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a silent pandemic predicted to cause more deaths than cancer by 2050. However, this problem is compounded by the fact that it takes ~20 years for a new antibiotic to reach the clinic. This project focuses on the development of a cell-free synthetic biology approach to study AMR. Specifically, this will involve the use of cell-free expression. Cell-free gene expression requires an extract, DNA/RNA and a metabolite to initiate transcription-translation, which is supported by a complex network of metabolic pathways and RNA/protein and metabolite interactions. Effectively, this provides a biochemical mimic of what happens inside a living cell, and thus a safe approach to study essential processes from infectious disease-causing bacteria.

Aims: Develop a novel and safe cell-free tool to study newly evolving antimicrobial resistance mechanisms from inside a test tube.

Methods and Training

The PhD student will develop expertise in cell-free gene expression to study AMR. The student will learn advanced techniques such as CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing, next-generation sequencing, as well as routine techniques covering molecular biology, microbiology and biochemical experiments.

Environment and Support

Queen Mary University of London is a member of the Russell group of leading research focused institutions in the UK. The successful applicant will enter a vibrant research environment, under the supervision of Dr Simon Moore, who specialises in the growing field of cell-free synthetic biology. Projects may additionally have opportunities to spend time with industry or close collaborators such as UK Health and Security Agency (UKHSA).

For details see Dr Moore's profile page and personal website.


  • Upper-second class BSc (or equivalent qualification) in microbiology, biochemistry, biomedical or related degree subject.
  • A MSc degree is beneficial but not essential.
  • International students are required to provide evidence of their proficiency in English language skills. Please see our entry requirements pagefor details.
  • The applicant must obtain an external source of funding, following the recommended scholarship providers (see below for links)


Contact Dr Simon Moore with a short e-mail, and please include the following:

1) Indicate the funding scheme you intend to apply, for which you are eligible.

2) Attach a maximum two-page CV and also indicate any English Language qualifications.

You may then wish to complete an online application form through the Queen Mary website.

If your application is successful a conditional offer dependent of obtaining external funding will be made and Dr Moore will provide support for you to make a funding application.

Funding Notes

This project is open to applicants intending to personally apply for external funding. Offers made by Queen Mary will be conditional on you being successful in applying for external funding. For example, you may directly apply to: CONACYT (Mexico) and Commonwealth Scholarships. Please only apply if you are eligible through one of these schemes.

When I have scholarships available, I will also advertise the funded studentship separately on or personal website.

See also

Back to top