The study of metabolism in human health and disease – the integration of analytical chemistry, bioinformatics and translational medicine
We seek a PhD candidate of outstanding ability to join a developing and active research team at The University of Birmingham led by Dr Warwick Dunn. Our research lies at the interface of analytical chemistry, computational biology/bioinformatics and human health and disease. The focus of our research is the development of innovative advanced methods and software tools applied to study mammalian metabolism and metabolites. We collaborate closely with the research groups of Prof. Mark Viant in the School of Biosciences and Dr Shan He in The School of Computer Science as well as members of The Systems Science for Health initiative (http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/research/activity/ssfh/index.aspx) and members of the College of Medical and Dental Sciences at The University of Birmingham.
HUMAN HEALTH AND DISEASE. The Dunn research group is applying metabolomics and systems biology in collaboration with biomedical and clinical research groups to study at the systems level the role of metabolites in human ageing and chronic diseases. We are interested in identifying novel mechanisms associated with disease onset and progress and to identify prognostic and diagnostic biomarkers of disease and to provide biomarkers applied in stratified medicine. Our research focuses on human ageing and musculoskeletal health, endocrinology, cardiovascular and renal diseases, reproduction and complications of pregnancy.
ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY. Our aims are to continue to develop innovative analytical methods and software tools to be applied to comprehensively study and identify metabolites in mammalian systems. We predominantly apply high-throughput mass spectrometry instruments in these studies to enable reproducible and information-rich data to be acquired. Research areas of interest include (i) the development of methods to study diverse sample types (biofluids, cells, tissues); (ii) optimisation of methods to collect information-rich data for chemical identification of metabolites and (iii) development of software tools to aid in high-throughput data collection and processing.
COMPUTATIONAL BIOLOGY/BIOINFORMATICS. Our aims are to work closely with Dr He to develop (i) tools and software to combine multiple and different types of data; (ii) to develop automated workflows and software for large-scale metabolite identification and (iii) to develop freely-available resources describing the metabolic composition of mammalian cells and tissues.
TRAINING AND PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT. A wide range of opportunities for training and personal development are available at The University including mentoring schemes, training courses and one-to-one training. Training in specific scientific disciplines will be dependent upon the interests of the student but can include one of more of the following: (i) analytical chemistry; (ii) computational biology and bioinformatics; (iii) application of metabolomics in studying mammalian systems. Training will operate in a dynamic environment with internationally-recognised scientists and research programmes to provide the skills to develop and apply metabolomics studies in your future career.
FACILITIES: World class bioanalytical and medical research facilities exist at Birmingham for this project as evidenced by the University hosting the NERC Biomolecular Analysis Facility for Metabolomics and The School of Biosciences hosting the Advanced Mass Spectrometry facility.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR SELF-FUNDED STUDENTS
Research opportunities are available for candidates of outstanding abilities who provide their own funding.
Conditions of funding are dependent on the funding body. Applicants should have a strong background in one or more of the following dependent upon their research interests; the biological sciences, analytical chemistry or bioinformatics. Work experience in relevant areas including biomedical research is a definite advantage.
The School offers several UK Research Council (e.g. BBSRC, NERC) PhD studentships each year. Fully funded research council studentships are normally only available to UK nationals (or EU nationals resident in the UK) but part-funded studentships may be available to EU applicants resident outside of the UK. The deadline for applications for research council studentships is in January each year.
Please note the only funding available for our PhD is via the Scholarships mentioned. All applicants should indicate in their applications how they intend to fund their studies. Any academically suitable applicant that does not indicate how they intend to fund their studies will be considered for the Darwin and/or the Elite Scholarships if not indicated. We can only consider applicants who have their own funding or wish to apply for their own funding or are successful in gaining a Scholarship.
Research Council Studentships are available for UK applicants. EU applicants resident in the UK may also be eligible. Non-UK students interested in molecular microbiology may apply for a Darwin Trust Scholarship. The deadline for applications for Research Council and Darwin Trust studentships is 31st January 2014.
We have a thriving community of International PhD students and encourage applications at any time from students of any nationality either able to fund their own studies or who wish to apply for their own funding (e.g. Commonwealth Scholarship Council, Islamic Development Bank).
For further information on funding see http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/biosciences/courses/postgraduate/phd.aspx
If interested in joining this dynamic research team, in the first instance please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
For further details on the current research in Dunn’s laboratory at The University of Birmingham, including relevant research papers see http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/biosciences/staff/profile.aspx?ReferenceId=53168&Name=dr-warwick-dunn