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(A*STAR) The role of miRNA in mediating key host pathogen interactions in Trichuris muris infections in mice

Project Description

Whipworms, Trichuris species, are an exceptionally successful group of parasites that colonise the large intestine of the host, an environment rich in bacteria. Previously using the mouse pathogen T. muris as a model we have shown the importance of the interaction between the host bacteria (microbiota) in the caecum and the establishment of a chronic infection and that such infections cause profound changes in the host microbiota. Recently we have shown that T. muris itself has its own microbiota within its gut that it initially acquires from the host and then modifies for its own use.

The project aims to investigate the mechanism by which these changes in the host microbiota occur and how T. muris acquires its own microbiota. Specifically the project will look at the role of miRNA molecules produced by both the mouse host in response to infection and by T. muris in shaping the respective microbiotas.

Entry Requirements:
Applications should be submitted online and candidates should make direct contact with the Manchester supervisor to discuss their application directly. Applicants must have obtained, or be about to obtain, at least an upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject.

Funding Notes

This project is available to UK/EU candidates. Funding covers fees (UK/EU rate) and stipend for four years. Overseas candidates can apply providing they can pay the difference in fees and are from an eligible country. Candidates will be required to split their time between Manchester and Singapore, as outlined on View Website.

As an equal opportunities institution we welcome applicants from all sections of the community regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation and transgender status. All appointments are made on merit.


1) Hayes, K.S., Bancroft, A.J., Goldrick, M., Portsmouth, C., Roberts I.S*., Grencis, R.K* (2010). Gut microflora regulates macrofauna: Exploitation of intestinal ecosystems by a parasitic nematode. Science 328:1391-1394.

2) Houlden, A., Hayes, K. S., Bancroft, A. J., Worthington, J. J., Wang, P., Grencis, R. K., Roberts, I. S. (2015). Chronic Trichuris muris Infection in C57BL/6 Mice Causes Significant Changes in Host Microbiota and Metabolome: Effects reversed by pathogen clearance. PLoS One 10:e0125945

3) White, E. C, Houlden, A., Bancroft A. J., Hayes, K. S., Goldrick, M., Grencis, R. K., Roberts, I. S. (2018).
Manipulation of host and parasite microbiotas: Survival strategies during chronic nematode infection. Sci. Adv. 4:eaap7399

4) Kozomora, A., Griffiths-Jones, S. (2014) miRBASE: annotating high confidence microRNAs using deep sequencing data. Nucleic Acid Res. 42:68-73

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