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(BBSRC DTP CASE) Use of genomic technologies to enhance food safety and authenticity

Project Description

The annual cost to UK health service due to food related ill health is £6Bn. In addition food fraud is estimated to cost UK business in the region of £11 Bn per annum. Our ability to detect food fraud is limited by the technologies we have available to detect adulterants in complex food matrices. Next generation sequencing (NGS) has emerged as a technology that may allow us to detect and quantify, in a cost effective manner, adulterants, allergens and pathogens in food. This project aims to investigate the role that NGS based technologies can play in supporting the food safety industry.

You will be joining a team of researchers that are investigating the potential for shotgun based metagenomic analysis using low cost sequencing platforms such as the illumina iseq and the minION nanopore sequencers, to detect microbial pathogens in clinical samples. The project aims to apply lessons learned in the clinical sector to the food safety sector. Alongside our industrial partner PiQ Laboratories, we will be developing sequencing workflows and bioinformatic pipelines that can deliver cost effective diagnostics that detect the presence of microbial pathogens, allergens and biological adulterants in food. At the end of the PhD, you will have developed an expertise for both wet lab and bio-informatics using R and Python programming languages. In addition, via a series of placements, you will gain experience of working in a busy and dynamic analytical laboratory. The ultimate aim would be to implement the technologies developed during the research project at the partner laboratory. You will gain an insight into the commercial decision making processes that support the roll out of a novel diagnostic product.

Entry Requirements:
Applications are invited from UK/EU nationals only. 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 to be funded under the BBSRC Doctoral Training Partnership. If you are interested in this project, please make direct contact with the Principal Supervisor to arrange to discuss the project further as soon as possible. You MUST also submit an online application form - full details on how to apply can be found on the BBSRC DTP website 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.

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