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PhD Position - Shelf-life and safety of fermented and smoked foods

Background:

Teagasc current have 2 PhD positions on a Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM)
project funded through the FIRM programme. Graduates will receive comprehensive training in culture
based microbiology, fermentation and molecular biology (PCR, RT-PCR, WGS, etc.) techniques, as well as
expertise and experience in developing mathematical models. These positions will be of interest to
those considering a career in research, the regulatory authorities (FSAI, DAFM, etc.) as well as in the
food and pharmaceutical sectors.

The subject of this research is the safety and shelf-life of a range of fermented and smoked foods.
The target bacteria are Listeria monocytogenes, Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli, Clostridium
botulinum, Staphylococcus aureus and heat resistant coliforms and the target foods include
sauerkraut, kefir, smoked salmon (PhD1), pepperoni and salami (PhD2). The research will include
bacterial culture studies, predictive model development and validation (using the pilot equipment
in the new Enterprise Ireland co-funded Processed Consumer Foods (PCF) Centre) as well as
virulence gene expression studies. This work will be undertaken in full consultation with relevant
stakeholders using commercial recipes and processes. Full training on predictive software
application will be provided.

Requirements:

Applicants should have a good primary degree (First or Second Class Honours) or MSc in an appropriate
discipline (Microbiology, or similar discipline). All applicants should have a working knowledge of
statistics, be highly self-motivated, cheerful, possess positive attitude and be prepared for laboratory
work with modern analytical equipment. A full driving licence is also an advantage but is not essential.

Award:

The funding is €24,000 per annum which includes university fees up to fees up to a maximum of €6,000
which is tenable for 4 years.

Location:
PhD1 (ref. 2019214): based in Teagasc (Ashtown) and registered in University College Dublin
PhD2 (ref. 2019215): based in Teagasc (Ashtown) and registered in University College Cork

Further Information/Applications:
Dr Declan Bolton, Teagasc Food Research Centre

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