Modular Metabolic Engineering for Bio-Based Commodity Chemicals Production from Gases PhD

Chemical Engineering
Entry requirements:
3 years
not available
Reference number:
Start date:
1 April 2018
Is funding available?
UK/EU fees:
International fees:
Application deadline:
1 February 2018



Nationally for research quality

REF 2014


in the UK for Chemical Engineering

The Times Good University Guide 2017


£17m STEMLab facility


Loughborough University is a top-ten rated university in England for research intensity (REF2014) and an outstanding 66% of the work of Loughborough’s academic staff who were eligible to be submitted to the REF was judged as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’, compared to a national average figure of 43%.

In choosing Loughborough for your research, you’ll work alongside academics who are leaders in their field. You will benefit from comprehensive support and guidance from our Doctoral College, including tailored careers advice, to help you succeed in your research and future career. 

Project detail

Commodity chemicals (e.g., ethylene, propylene, ethylene glycol, and acrylic acid) are the building blocks of modern society due to their extensive use in myriad consumer products. Because almost all of these compounds are currently produced from petroleum, they are mainly known as petrochemicals. However, production of commodity chemicals from petroleum is not only unsustainable but also damaging to the environment in the long run; unsustainable due to continuous depletion of petroleum sources and damaging due to the emission of harmful green house gases, including carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO), nitrous oxide (N2O), and methane (CH4), during the production of petrochemicals. Thus, the overarching goal of this project is to develop an integrated bioprocess to convert these harmful gases into value-added commodity chemicals by the application of metabolic engineering and synthetic biology strategies. To this end, the project will specifically focus on achieving two main objectives: 1) construction of biochemical pathways that convert gases to the chemicals of interest, and 2) development of optimized microbial cell factories, i.e., bioprocesses that are capable of producing chemicals of interest using the constructed pathways.

Experience in mathematical modelling of biological systems and good programming skills in MATLAB, Perl/Python are strongly desirable although not a requisite.


Primary supervisor: Dr. Ahsan Islam

Secondary supervisor: Dr. Brahim Benyahia

Find out more

For further project details email Dr Ahsan Islam or register your interest and ask us a question.

To find out more about postgraduate research in the department of Chemical Engineering please visit our website.

Entry Requirements

Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in Bioengineering, Chemical Engineering, Applied Mathematics or a related subject.

A relevant Master’s degree and/or experience in one or more of the following will be an advantage: bioinformatics, microbiology, biochemistry.

Applicants must meet the minimum English Language requirements, details available on the website.

Fees and funding


Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, IT equipment and other support services. University fees and charges can be paid in advance and there are several methods of payment, including online payments and payment by instalment. Special arrangements are made for payments by part-time students.

The studentship provides a tax free stipend of £14,553 per annum for the duration of the studentship plus tuition fees at the UK/EU rate.  International (non EU) students may apply however the total value of the studentship will be used towards the cost of the International tuition fee in the first instance.

How to apply

How to apply

All applications should be made online.  Under programme name, select Chemical Engineering.

Please quote reference number: CG-AI-1725

Application details

Reference number: CG-AI-1725
Start date: 01 April 2018
Application deadline: 01 February 2018
Interview date: 07 February 2018