PhD studentship: Microbial ecology and metagenomics of a foodborne pathogen (MATHERQ20DTP)

Applications Close: 06 July 2020

Salary: £15,285pa stipend

Contract Length: 4 years

Campylobacter is the commonest bacterial cause of diarrhoeal disease in the UK, where is it most often associated with the consumption of poultry, and amongst the top five causes of diarrhoeal disease in low and middle-income countries, where transmission routes are unclear. The detection of Campylobacter is challenging as it is difficult to grow in the laboratory, suggesting an important role of the microbial communities in which Campylobacter thrives – in laboratory conditions it is grown as a pure culture. Metagenome, culture independent, sequencing of samples where Campylobacter is found, offers an approach which can be used to examine the interaction between Campylobacter and the total microbial diversity of a sample.

This multidisciplinary project with Dr Mather and Prof Wain will examine the microbial communities associated with both the presence and absence of Campylobacter on chicken. This may suggest novel mechanisms to reduce the survival of Campylobacter in the food chain. This project will include both wet lab and dry lab components; culturing for the diversity of Campylobacter, exploring competitive exclusion of Campylobacter, and whole genome and metagenome sequencing and analysis. The successful candidate will develop skills in state-of-the-art genomics, metagenomics, microbiology, ecology, epidemiology and bioinformatics.

The student will join an interdisciplinary team that will support their training and development. Quadram Institute Bioscience provides a stimulating and supportive environment for research on food, the microbiome and microbes in the food chain. The student will have intellectual input into shaping the project and there will be opportunities to collaborate with partners both within and outside the institute to develop further skills and impact of the project.

This project has been shortlisted for funding by the Norwich Research Park Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (NRPDTP). Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed on Friday 24 July 2020.

The NRPDTP offers postgraduates the opportunity to undertake a 4-year research project whilst enhancing professional development and research skills through a comprehensive training programme. You will join a vibrant community of world-leading researchers. All NRPDTP students undertake a three-month professional internship (PIPS) during their study. The internship offers exciting and invaluable work experience designed to enhance professional development. Full support and advice will be provided by our Professional Internship team. Students with, or expecting to attain, at least an upper second class honours degree, or equivalent, are invited to apply.

Further information, eligibility and funding requirements and how to apply:

We strongly encourage applicants from black, Asian or other minority ethnic backgrounds and welcome applications from all protected groups as defined by the Equality Act 2010. Appointment will be made on merit.

Funding Notes

In general, funding is available to UK and EU nationals who have established UK or EU residency. Full Studentships cover a stipend (2020/21 rate: £15,285pa), research costs and tuition fees at UK/EU rate and are available to candidates who meet the UK residency requirements (

EU nationals who do not meet the UK residency requirements may be eligible for a fees-only award. Students in receipt of a fees-only award will be eligible for a maintenance stipend awarded by the NRPDTP Scholarships. To be eligible students must meet the EU residency requirements.