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A needle in a stack of needles: using machine learning approaches to find RNA viruses in the gut microbiome (ADRIAENSSENSQ20DTP2)

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Monday, November 25, 2019
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Microbiome science has entered the realm of big data, where information is coming faster and at larger volumes, making data processing and analysis a true bottleneck. To address this issue, the community needs automated approaches for detection and analysis of viruses from microbiome data. RNA viruses are particularly understudied as components of the microbiome, comprising potentially dangerous pathogens such as poliovirus, but also viruses that infect bacteria, and anything in between.

The Adriaenssens group at the Quadram Institute Bioscience (QIB), in collaboration with the School of Computing Sciences at the University of East Anglia, is looking to recruit a PhD student on a fully funded project. In this project, we will use machine learning approaches for the detection of RNA virus genomes in microbiome data and investigate their role in the human gut. The student will join the group of Dr Evelien Adriaenssens at QIB, specialised in gut viruses and viromics, with Dr Gavin Cawley, a specialist in machine learning, as second supervisor.

The ideal candidate has at a minimum an Upper Second class Honours degree (or equivalent) in Computer Science, with an interest in microbiome analyses, or a degree in Life Sciences with significant experience in programming. 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, health and disease. The QIB offers a wide range of training opportunities for its student cohort, laboratory and computational scientific support and funding to attend national and international conferences, preparing the student for any career of their choice.

This project has been shortlisted for funding by the Norwich Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (NRPDTP). Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed as part of the studentship competition. Candidates will be interviewed on either the 7th, 8th or 9th January 2020.

The NRP DTP 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.

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

Funding Notes

For funding eligibility guidance, please visit our website: View Website. Full Studentships cover a stipend (2019/0 rate: £15,009pa), research costs and tuition fees at UK/EU rate and are 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 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 Bioscience Doctoral Scholarships. To be eligible students must meet the EU residency requirements.

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