PhD studentship: Exploring development and evolution of the maternal and infant skin microbiome (WEBBERQ20UNIL))

Applications Close: 30 April 2020

Salary: Stipend of £19,285

Contract Length: 3 years

We are looking for a creative and enthusiastic PhD candidate to join a dynamic, multi-disciplinary research team investigating the interactions of the host with the microbiota during the early life developmental window. For more details visit and The Webber and Hall labs are based within the Quadram Institute, a new interdisciplinary microbiome and food research Institute (, thus providing an excellent platform for a starting scientific career.

This studentship also represents and exciting academic-industry collaboration with the company Unilever, who have a keen interest in exploring and exploiting the microbiome for development of new treatments.

Background: Human skin faces constant external challenge. While skin has evolved to combat insults such as infection and pollution a key element of its defence is the human microbiome, the first layer of protection. Despite the increasing recognition of the importance of the skin microbiome health there has been little investigation of the baby skin microbiome, and almost no investigation of the longitudinal development of that microbiome after birth.

This project seeks to investigate the development and evolution of the human skin microbiome while gaining a greater understanding of the impact that microbial disturbances in early years can have on skin health. These insights will be essential to the formulation of the next generation of skin care products to maintain skin health across the life course.

The multi-disciplinary project, using samples from PEARL – an ongoing pregnancy and infant cohort, will involve a combination of wet and dry lab techniques/skills including; next generation sequencing, bioinformatics, microbial culturing, and cell culture.Please note, the Primary Supervisor for this project has changed from Dr Lindsay Hall to Dr Mark Webber.

For further information and to apply, please visit our website:

Funding Notes

Funding for this Unilever UKRI-BBSRC funded studentship PhD studentship is available to successful candidates who meet the UKRI eligibility criteria including the 3-year UK residency requirements.

The Studentship will cover a stipend of £19,285 per annum (UKRI rate for 20/21: £15,285 plus CASE Partner enhancement), research costs and tuition fees at UK/EU rate. This is available to UK and EU students who meet the UK residency requirements. Students from EU countries who do not meet the UK residency requirements may still be eligible for a fees-only award. Further details on funding eligibility can be found on the UKRI website: View Website