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(BBSRC DTP) The role of commensal bacteria in the skins response to ultraviolet radiation

Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health

Manchester United Kingdom Biochemistry Cell Biology Data Analysis Microbiology Molecular Biology

About the Project

Our skin is populated by an assortment of bacteria and other microorganisms that contribute to our physiological health. This is known as the skin microbiome. Among the numerous environmental factors that impact upon skin on a daily basis, ultraviolet radiation (UVR) from sunlight is arguably the most important. In contrast to other human microbiomes, the commensal bacteria of the skin are unique in that they are regularly exposed to UVR. That bacteria are responsive to UVR is well established given numerous studies looking at the use of UVR as a method of sterilisation. However, the response of the skin microbiota to UVR has not been studied in any detail. In particular, whether the bacteria on skin can alter the response of skin cells (keratinocytes) to UVR is unknown.

We have preliminary evidence that members of the skin microbiome can modify the response of keratinocytes to UVR. We have shown that particular bacteria can promote apoptosis of UVR exposed keratinocytes. Other bacteria can promote the survival of keratinocytes following UVR exposure. In this project, we will study these responses in more detail. We will aim to:

1) Identify the factors in bacteria that promote apoptosis or survival of keratinocytes following exposure to UVR
2) Using microarray, begin to identify the signalling pathways modified by bacterial components

Entry Requirements:
Applicants must have obtained, or be about to obtain, at least an upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject.

UK applicants interested in this project should make direct contact with the Principal Supervisor to arrange to discuss the project further as soon as possible. International applicants (including EU nationals) must ensure they meet the academic eligibility criteria (including English Language) as outlined before contacting potential supervisors to express an interest in their project. Eligibility can be checked via the University Country Specific information page (

If your country is not listed you must contact the Doctoral Academy Admissions Team providing a detailed CV (to include academic qualifications – stating degree classification(s) and dates awarded) and relevant transcripts.

Following the review of your qualifications and with support from potential supervisor(s), you will be informed whether you can submit a formal online application.

To be considered for this project you MUST submit a formal online application form - full details on how to apply can be found on the BBSRC DTP website

Funding Notes

Funding will cover UK tuition fees/stipend only. The University of Manchester aims to support the most outstanding applicants from outside the UK. We are able to offer a limited number of scholarships that will enable full studentships to be awarded to international applicants. These full studentships will only be awarded to exceptional quality candidates, due to the competitive nature of this scheme.

Equality, diversity and inclusion is fundamental to the success of The University of Manchester, and is at the heart of all of our activities. The full Equality, diversity and inclusion statement can be found on the website View Website

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