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FindA University Ltd Featured PhD Programmes

Bacterial cell-cell interactions in microbial communities

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, September 13, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

The microbiome plays a critical role in the wellbeing of its host, as microbes are involved in a number of important biological processes ranging from metabolism to immune system development. Numerous studies have investigated the compositional changes that occur in this microbial ecosystem during various disease states, however, there still exists a major gap in our understanding of how the microbial members of this ecosystem interact with each other, and how these interactions scale up to generate stable, health-promoting communities. Research in our lab focuses on one of these interactions involved in interbacterial antagonism. Specifically, the bacterial type VI secretion system (T6SS) is used by a diverse range of bacteria to deliver a wide range of different cytotoxic effectors into neighboring eukaryotic or bacterial cells. Interestingly, some bacteria have actually evolved specific defense mechanisms against these antagonistic interactions. We are interested in understanding how all of these cell-cell interactions combine together to affect larger population dynamics and microbial community structure.

The specific project for this studentship can be flexibly defined based on the prospective student’s interests, but will generally involve investigation of the regulation, localization, or function of the T6SS in the context of multi-species bacterial communities. The main model organisms we study in the lab are Escherichia coli, Vibrio cholerae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. During their PhD training, students will learn techniques required for basic microbiology, molecular genetics & cloning, mutagenesis & screening, protein engineering, fluroescence microscopy, and biochemical analyses. Because the ISMB fosters an interdisciplinary environment and collaborative research, there will also be opportunities to learn research techniques used by other labs within the ISMB.

The prospective student will be virtually associated with the Wellcome Trust Interdisciplinary PhD programme, i.e. will be able to participate in all of the student activities.

How to Apply
Prospective students can apply through the Birkbeck College portal:
http://www.bbk.ac.uk/study/2019/phd/programmes/RMPBIOLG/

In the application ’Funding’ section, please indicate that you are applying for “studentship with Dr Brian Ho” and in lieu of uploading a ’Research Proposal’, please write a short personal statement about your scientific background, your research interests, and career goals.

Funding Notes

The programme will cover 3.5 years of studentship, including a tax-free maintenance stipend of £17,009 per annum and all tuition fees at the home/EU rate. Overseas students are eligible to apply but if successful, would need to fund the difference between the home/EU fees and overseas fees for the duration of the award.

All applicants will be required to satisfy English language entry criteria and a minimum upper-second class (2.1) honours degree (or overseas equivalent) in a science field. Given the flexibility and potential interdisciplinary nature of the research, individuals of any scientific background are encouraged to apply.

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