Exploiting human gut microbiome in mucus to combat pathogens (JUGE_Q22MMB)

Applications Close: 17 January 2022

Salary: MRC stipend

Contract Length: 4 years

This PhD studentship provides an exciting opportunity for the successful candidate to investigate gut symbiont-pathogen interactions at the mucosal surface and acquire advanced skills in both in silico and in vivo approaches.

The human body harbours a diverse and dense population of commensal bacteria which exert key functions in terms of human health. However, the development of microbiome-targeted therapies to restore human health is currently hampered by a lack of mechanistic understanding of bacterial metabolism at the strain and niche level, therefore, limiting targeted approaches to achieve a clinically-desired effect. This work will harness mechanisms of adaptation of key human gut symbionts to the gut intestinal wall, focusing on bacterial mucin glycan metabolism as novel strategies to limit pathogen infection.

The PhD student will join a dynamic multidisciplinary team at the Quadram Institute Bioscience and receive mentoring and training in advanced experimental models and bioinformatics tools. Through this PhD studentship, the student will acquire expertise in microbiology, glycobiology and metagenomics, as well as general computational and in vivo skills.

The student will benefit from the established network of international collaborations of the supervisory team in this research area. Training will embrace research practice and theory, management, communication (to scientific and lay audiences), intellectual property, teamwork and technical writing. The student will present their work to internal seminars and to relevant international meetings on the Microbiome. The student will be encouraged to participate in outreach activities and innovative competitions.

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: Prof Nathalie Juge (QIB) – nathalie.juge@quadram.ac.uk
Secondary Supervisor: Dr Falk Hildebrand (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).

Funding

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.

Apply