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Bacteriotherapy to treat non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (BERAZA_Q23MMBC)

   Graduate Programme

   Monday, April 17, 2023  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the UK. Over 60% of UK adults are either obese or overweight, and one in three has liver steatosis, an accumulation of fat in the liver considered to be an early stage of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

NAFLD associates with profound changes in the gut microbiome and promoting intestinal permeability that allows the leak of bacteria products from the intestine to the liver where they contribute to inflammation and disease progression.

There are currently no licenced drugs to treat NAFLD, so the need to find new therapeutics is urgent. Based on its contribution to disease progression, modulation of the microbiome as a therapeutic approach for treating NAFLD shows great promise.

We have partnered with Quadram Institute Bioscience and Microbiotica Limited, a global leader in clinical translation of microbiome-based therapies, to conduct a cross-disciplinary project that aims to test the effects of a selected bacterial consortia to treat non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

In this project, the successful candidate will join the groups of Dr Naiara Beraza and Prof. Cynthia Whitchurch. This multidisciplinary team will train the PhD student in preclinical in vivo models, microbiology, molecular biology and immunology methodologies, and complex super-resolution imaging technology. In parallel, the student will receive training in state-of-the-art bioinformatics analytical tools, which will be used to characterise the intestinal microbiome.

This collaborative project will enable the student to work in different labs and research areas in academia and industry as well as to present their results to wide-ranging audiences in conferences and meetings. The multidisciplinary nature of this project will contribute to building a broad network and will provide the student with valuable transferable skills essential for the progression of her/his scientific career.

This iCASE studentship within the Microbes, Microbiomes and Bioinformatics (MMB) Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) is open to UK and international candidates with relevant undergraduate degrees for entry in October 2023 and offers the opportunity to undertake a 4-year PhD research project funded by the UKRI Medical Research Council in microbiology and microbial bioinformatics.

Our unique and comprehensive training programme empowers students to feel comfortable running sophisticated computer analyses alongside laboratory work and emphasises problem-based learning in microbial bioinformatics, professional development and research skills. The student will undertake a placement with the non-academic partner totalling 3-18 months.

Interviews for shortlisted candidates will take place on Wednesday 17 May 2023.

The MRC DTP is committed to equality, diversity and inclusion. Students are selected without regard to age, disability, gender identity, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, ethnicity, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation or social background. We value curiosity, independence of thought, plus an aptitude for research that combines laboratory work and bioinformatics.

For information on eligibility and how to apply:

Funding Notes

This iCASE project is awarded with a 4-year studentship including direct payment of tuition fees to the University, stipend for living expenses (2022/3 rate: £17,668) and a Research Training Support Grant for each year of the studentship. Studentship funding does not normally cover costs associated with visa or health surcharges or additional costs associated with entry to, and living in, the UK.

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