PhD Research Project: Modelling encapsulation and responses of bacteria in double emulsions, UK

A PhD project is offered at the School of Chemical Engineering, University of Birmingham, recent recipient of a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for its outstanding track record in collaborative research and training. This multidisciplinary project aims to investigate the responses of microbial communities to emulsion-based formulations using computational modelling tools. Emulsions in foods and cosmetics are composed of dispersed oil phase in water (oil-in-water (o/w) emulsions) or water-in-oil. Furthermore, double emulsions can be formed by w/o emulsions dispersed in water (w/o/w). The interactions between the emulsion structure and microbial communities are not well understood. Their investigation is the aim of this project with focus on laboratory-based experimental observations feeding computational tools for modelling and predicting responses. The systematic understanding of bacterial interactions with complex formulation structures is pivotal for further developing their applications in food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. The research is poised on the intersection between microbiology, formulation engineering, and computational modelling, and reflects the strengths of the University of Birmingham in these three areas. The exact programme of research will be defined by discussion between the student and supervisors. The project will incorporate novel approaches in the preparation and characterisation of emulsions encapsulating microbes, assisted by a wide range of techniques, such as microbiological assays and advanced microscopy, for identifying and characterising underlying interactions. A substantial part of the project will involve using computational-based modelling tools for the simulation of interactions.


  • A basic understanding of fluid dynamics is required and strong numerical/mathematical skills are desirable.
  • Previous experience with computational modelling (commercial or open-source) would be an advantage, however, training will be provided.


Informal enquiries should be directed to: Dr Kostas Gkatzionis:

Applications need to be made via the University of Birmingham Admissions Portal:


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