University of Milan

2 PhD positions available at the University of Milano - Department of Pharmacological and Biomolecular Sciences

Salva tra i preferiti


Breaking the barrier - An integrated multidisciplinary approach to kill Gram-negative bacteria through existing antibiotics by making their outer membrane permeable

2 PhD positions available at the University of Milano - Department of Pharmacological and Biomolecular Sciences

What we offer:

The BREAKthrough project funded under HORIZON-TMA-MSCA-DN actionaims to educate the next generation of scientists with expertise in antimicrobial resistance. Within the doctoral programmes it offers, doctoral candidates will benefit from the following:

  • An extensive network-wide training programme offering courses in the areas of science and technology, business, as well as generic, transferable skills;
  • The opportunity to work in a multidisciplinary team within a Europe-wide consortium of research institutions and SME/industrial partners, comprising experts in microbiology, pharmacology, and chemistry;
  • Intersectoral and international experience through 2 secondments at partner organisations,
  • A gross salary of 2541 € per month including mobility; if applicable family allowances will be added.

With the wide range of skills and experience gained in the BREAKthrough project, doctoral candidates will have broadened their career perspectives and increased their employability, whether they decide to pursue a career in academia or industry.

Project Description:

Antimicrobial resistance, which is caused by multi-drug-resistant bacterial pathogens is a global health emergency. Gram-negative bacteria notably hinder effective treatment because of their impermeable outer membrane (OM). Lipopolysaccharide (LPS), the major component of OM outer leaflet, is the key determinant of the OM barrier properties. Consequently, many standard-of-care antibiotics cannot access intracellular targets in Gram-negative species. The objective of the BREAKthrough European Training Network is to destabilize the OM to make Gram-negative bacteria sensitive to these antibiotics.

Project 1: the selected candidate will optimise and implement novel genetic screening assays that report for the loss of OM integrity based on expression of available bio-reporters and use them for the screening of libraries to assess OM leakiness, ability to sensitise to selected antibiotics and mode of action studies.

Project 2: the selected candidate will characterize non-essential envelope proteins whose function becomes essential when LPS biogenesis is compromised, or the OM outer leaflet disrupted. This project is expected to generate knowledge on new ways to impair cell envelope stability to be used to identify potentiators that can act in combination with standard of care antibiotics.

Eligibility criteria:

  • You have a Master degree (M.Sc. or equivalent graduation) in Biology, Biochemistry or related area.
  • You have not already completed (or successfully defended) a PhD degree.
  • You have not resided or carried out your main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Italy for more than 12 months in the 36 months immediately before your starting date.
  • You must be proficient in English


To apply please send following documents in one PDF-file to

  1. Personal statement/motivation letter (up to 2 pages) about the applicants’ experience and interests
  2. A complete CV (personal details, education history, research experience experimental skills, publications etc.)
  3. Proficiency of English language skills (at least level B2 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages)
  4. Official list of grades (in English) obtained during the applicant’s bachelor and master studies including official description of grading scale
  5. Names and contact information of at least two academic referees who could write a letter of recommendation

Please note that only complete application sets will be considered.

Application deadline: 25th February 2023
Start date (planned): June 1st 2023

Contact details: Prof. Alessandra Polissi 
Department of Pharmacological and Biomolecular Sciences - University of Milano - Milano (Italy)
E-mail: alessandra.polissi@unimi.i


Fill out the form below to apply for this position.
Carica il tuo CV e gli allegati*

*By applying for a job listed on Academic Positions you agree to our terms and conditions and privacy policy.

Dettagli del lavoro

2 PhD positions available at the University of Milano - Department of Pharmacological and Biomolecular Sciences
Datore di lavoro
Via Festa del Perdono 7 Milano, Italia
Scadenza candidatura
2023-02-25 23:59:59
Tipo di lavoro
Salva tra i preferiti

Informazioni sul datore di lavoro

The University of Milan is a public teaching and research university, which - with 8 faculties and 2 schools and a teaching staff of more than 2000...

Visita la pagina del datore di lavoro

This might interest you

Outsmarting Nature with Science to Improve Food Security King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) 5 min. di lettura
Our Plastic Pollution Has Created a Whole New Ocean Ecosystem NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research 4 min. di lettura
Altre storie