Bacteriophages as precision medicine in the ageing gut (ADRIAENSSENS_Q22MMB)

Applications Close: 17 January 2022

Salary: MRC stipend

Contract Length: 4 years

Bacteriophages are the most abundant biological entity on the planet, but their role in the human microbiome is poorly understood. In this project, the student will use a combination of viromics and culturing to investigate the bacteriophages in the gut of an elderly patient cohort. The student will use our state-of-the-art model systems mimicking the human gut to develop interventional strategies to treat dysbiosis.

We are recruiting a student on an MRC-funded project at the Quadram Institute Bioscience in the area of Gut Microbes & Health. The student will join the group of Dr Evelien Adriaenssens, an expert in bacteriophages and viromics, in collaboration with Prof Simon Carding (gut microbiome interactions in health and disease) and Dr Falk Hildebrand (bioinformatics approaches to personalised microbiota care).

The ideal candidate has at a minimum an Upper Second Class Honours degree in Microbiology, Biotechnology or Bioinformatics (or equivalent) and a passion for research. Since this project combines both microbiology and bioinformatics approaches, we will consider appropriate expertise in either microbiology or bioinformatics with the desire to learn about the other aspects. The willingness to learn advanced skills in bioinformatics including the use of the command-line is essential.

The PhD student will be based in the new purpose-built Quadram Institute building located on the Norwich Research Park, where they will join a vibrant research community at the interface between fundamental and translational research into gut microbiology. The QIB offers a wide range of training opportunities, laboratory and computational scientific support and funding to attend conferences, preparing the student for any career of their choice.

The Microbes, Microbiomes and Bioinformatics (MMB) Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) is open to the UK and international candidates with an undergraduate degree relevant to the scope of the programme for entry in October 2022 and offers postgraduates the opportunity to undertake a 4-year PhD research project funded by the UKRI Medical Research Council to advance the training of students in microbiology, with an emphasis on microbial bioinformatics.

The distinctive training offered by the programme aims to ensure that students feel comfortable running sophisticated computer analyses alongside laboratory work whilst enhancing problem-based learning in microbial bioinformatics and professional development and research skills through a comprehensive training programme. All students will undertake a Professional Placement lasting up to 12 weeks.

This project has been shortlisted for funding by the MMB DTP programme. Interviews for shortlisted candidates will take place on Tuesday 15 February or Wednesday 16 February 2022.

This MMB DTP is committed to equality, diversity, widening participation and inclusion in all areas of the programme. We encourage enquiries and applications from all sections of the community, regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation, and transgender status. We value an aptitude for computer-based analysis, curiosity, and independence of thought, plus a commitment to work across the boundaries between the laboratory and bioinformatics to deliver high-impact research. We welcome applicants from low- and middle-income countries.

You can find more information on eligibility and how to apply on the Partnerships in doctoral training page.

Primary Supervisor: Dr Evelien Adriaenssens (QIB) –
Secondary Supervisor: Simon Carding (QIB)

Entry Requirements

At least UK equivalence Bachelors (Honours) 2:1 or UK equivalence Master’s degree. English Language requirement (Faculty of Medicine and Health equivalent: IELTS 6.5 overall, 6 in each category).


This project is awarded with a 4-year Microbes, Microbiomes and Bioinformatics (MMB) Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) PhD studentship. Studentships include support for:

•    A maintenance stipend, provided over four years, and funded according to the MRC stipend scale;
•    Full tuition fees which will be paid directly to the University;
•    Research and training costs.

Studentship funding will not normally cover costs associated with visa or health surcharges, or additional costs associated with entry to, and living in the UK.