Postdoctoral Researcher Smart carbohydrate-based antimicrobial materials for medical device coatin job with NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF IRELAND, GALWAY

Applications are invited from suitably qualified candidates for a full-time fixed term position as a Postdoctoral Researcher with the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences at the National University of Ireland, Galway, in collaboration with the School of Pharmacy at Queen’s University Belfast. This position is funded by the Shared Island Fund and is available from 01/09/2022 (or as soon as possible thereafter) to project end date of 31/03/2024. The North-South Research Program is a collaborative scheme funded through the Government’s Shared Island Fund. It is being administered by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) on behalf of the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science.

The project:

The SUGARCOAT research project will develop new functionalised materials for medical device coatings and study their antimicrobial and bacteria-detection properties. SUGARCOAT is a proof-of-concept project for materials with potential commercial applications, and will involve engagement with commercial and clinical partners. Synthetic work will be led by Dr Byrne (NUIG), with polymeric materials characterized in collaboration with Prof. Pandit (C RAM). Determining interactions of new materials with bacteria will be led by Dr Wylie and Prof. McCoy (QUB).

Information on research groups:

The Byrne Group in the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences (NUIG) is a growing research group that targets carbohydrate-protein interactions to build new diagnostic and therapeutic tools for bacterial infections. Our most exciting work is at the interface of carbohydrate chemistry and inorganic chemistry. More information is available at and

The Wylie/McCoy research group in the School of Pharmacy (QUB) focuses on the development of functional coatings and surface modifications to improve medical device performance, aiming to prevent infection and improve patient quality of life. The lab’s multidisciplinary research involves aspects of organic and polymer chemistry, materials science, and microbiology. More information:,

The Center for Research in Medical Devices (C RAM) is a national SFI funded research center that brings together internationally leading engineers, scientists and clinicians to develop next-generation innovative implantable medical devices to treat major unmet medical needs. C RAM is an integral part of the vibrant Med-Tech ecosystem in Galway, developing active collaborations with over 40 industry partners, and providing support for the creation of new spin-out companies. Further information:

Job Description:

We are looking for an enthusiastic researcher who can take the initiative and lead work on this project. As our Postdoctoral Researcher, you will implement the SUGARCOAT project under the supervision of the Principal Investigators. This exciting research will include the organic synthesis of monomers appended with carbohydrates and/or fluorophores, polymerisation reactions, polymer characterisation, analysis of UV/Vis absorption and emission spectroscopy, antimicrobial and biofilm inhibition assays, and confocal/fluorescent microscopy.

This is a collaboration between NUI Galway and Queen’s University Belfast, so research will involve extended visits to Belfast to work in the lab of Dr Matthew Wylie and Prof. Colin McCoy in the School of Pharmacy. As part of our team, you’ll also carry out materials characterization in collaboration with Prof. Abhay Pandit in C RAM. You will actively engage with all internal and external partners, providing regular updates and acting on feedback.


  • Undertake research as directed by the PI, synthesizing functional carbohydrate-containing polymers and establishing their antimicrobial and pathogen-sensing behaviour
  • Perform basic research, including preparing, conducting and recording the outcome of experiments and field work, and developing appropriate research methods
  • Collaborate with project partners and the project advisory committee to train in new techniques, present experimental results and implement feedback
  • Make several extended research visits to Queen’s University Belfast
  • Contribute to management of the research team (group meetings, health and safety, student supervision, maintenance of equipment, etc.)
  • Manage material resources within the project budget
  • Proactively engage with commercialisation, outreach and media publicity opportunities through C RAM
  • Deliver presentations at national and international conferences and meetings, and undertake outreach activities relevant to SUGARCOAT
  • Write up the results of your own work and contribute to the production of research reports, publications and proposals
  • Publish data in leading journals and/or protect any new intellectual property
  • Perform research in accordance with the university’s research integrity policy, the project data management policy and other relevant policies
  • Read academic papers, journals and textbooks to keep abreast of developments in your own specialism and related fields
  • Assist the PIs in external communication and collaboration
  • Carry out any other duties required by PI for the successful implementation of the project

Qualifications/Skills required: Essential Requirements:

  • Primary degree and a PhD (or about to acquire a PhD) in Chemistry, Materials Science, or a related discipline
  • Track record of peer-reviewed articles in leading journals and/or patents
  • Proven experimental expertise in one or more of the following areas: (i) synthetic organic chemistry (e.g. carbohydrates, methacrylates); (ii) polymer fabrication; (iii) luminescence spectroscopy; (iv) microbiology (primarily bacteria)
  • Excellent verbal and written English language communication skills
  • Demonstrates strong organizational skills

Desirable requirements:

  • Willingness to take on a leadership role supervising group researchers
  • Track record working in the medical device industry or with commercial partners
  • Experience developing intellectual property for protection
  • Familiarity with equality, diversity and inclusion activities or media engagement
  • Proven experience in confocal/fluorescent microscopy, SEM and image analysis software
  • Experience conducting in vitro biofilm flow model assays
  • Interdisciplinary experience will be an advantage

Salary: 39,523 per annum pro rata for shorter and/or part time contracts (IUA postdoctoral researcher scale, point 1; public sector pay policy rules pertaining to new entrants will apply) Start date: Position is available from September 2022, or as soon as possible thereafter

Further information on research and working at NUI Galway is available on Research at NUI Galway Researchers at NUI Galway are encouraged to avail of a range of training and development opportunities designed to support their personal career development plans. NUI Galway provides continuing professional development supports for all researchers seeking to build their own career pathways either within or beyond academia. Researchers are encouraged to engage with our Researcher Development Center (RDC) upon commencing employment – see for further information.

For information on moving to Ireland please see

Additional information on Chemistry at NUI Galway is available at: Informal inquiries concerning the post may be made to Dr Joseph Byrne ( or Dr Matthew Wylie (m

Garda vetting is not a requirement for this post

To Apply:

Applications should include the following: a covering letter, a CV, the contact details of three referees, and a sample of your own written work (eg a chapter from your PhD thesis). Applications should be sent to Dr Joseph Byrne, via e-mail (in word or PDF only) to

Please put reference number NUIG RES 186-22 in subject line of email application.

Closing date for receipt of applications is 5.00 pm 25/08/2022

Optional: Interviews are planned to be held as soon as possible afterwards

Interviews will take place virtually.

We reserve the right to re-advertise or extend the closing date for this post.

National University of Ireland, Galway is an equal opportunity employer.

All positions are recruited in line with Open, Transparent, Merit (OTM) and Competency based recruitment


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