A three year fully-funded Ph.D. scholarship is available for an outstanding candidate to conduct research at the interface of Water Chemistry and Microbiology in the School of Molecular and Life Sciences. The aim of this project is to generate an in-depth understanding of the survival mechanisms of microorganisms in chloraminated distribution systems as well as the chemical mechanisms involved in the interaction between bacteria and their metabolites with monochloramine. Chloramination is used as an alternative to chlorine for residual disinfection in water distribution pipelines. The decomposition of monochloramine releases free ammonia which promotes bacterial growth and leads to unexpected high consumption of oxidants. This exposes the pipeline to the potential growth of Naeglaria fowleri a highly pathogenic organism, previously responsible for multiple deaths of young children. The Ph.D. candidate will develop bioreactors that allow for simulation of a drinking water system mimicking Western Australian conditions. The aim of these experiments is to understand if the biomass is producing different organic material under different conditions relevant to extreme scenarios in a distribution system. This will give us some insight to how the biomass impacts on monochloramine stability.
Candidate for this Ph.D. scholarship is expected to:
Hold an undergraduate degree in Environmental science, Chemistry, Microbiology or relevant field at a high level (honours) of academic achievement;
Demonstrate an aptitude for research through their analytical and critical thinking skills;
Be able to work in a team setting and take responsibility for their individual tasks;
Be experienced in the use of digital technology and software packages;
Possess excellent spoken and written communications skills that may be evidenced, for example, through their undergraduate thesis/project work and presentations given;
Practise well-developed time- and self-management skills with strong personal discipline and drive in their work.
Additionally, the applicant should
Preferably have experience in Microbiology; and
Preferably have experience in Water Chemistry.
30 June 2020
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