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Can we use bacteriocins to improve gut health? (NARBAD_Q22DTP1)

   Graduate Programme

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  Prof A Narbad  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Many bacteria produce antimicrobial compounds to help them compete in mixed communities. Antimicrobial peptides called bacteriocins from food and dairy strains have already been exploited successfully to prevent food poisoning or mastitis. Gene clusters producing these bacteriocins are increasingly being discovered in gut bacteria or gastrointestinal metagenomes. The gut microbiome is known to play a critical role in our health and disease and has been associated with obesity, diabetes, colon cancers and the development of cognitive disorders via the gut-brain-axis. We want to determine whether bacteriocins have the potential to modulate the complex human gut microbiome and provide a novel approach to shape microbiomes towards a healthy outcome. 

This project will build on past and current projects on bacteriocin discovery, in vitro colon model fermentations and gut microbiome and metabolome analysis to investigate bacteriocin expression in gut conditions and the effect on the composition and function of the microbiota of both healthy and patients with gastrointestinal disorders.

This project will be a collaboration between Prof Arjan Narbad at Quadram Institute Bioscience and Dr Gwenaelle Le Gall at the University of East Anglia. The applicant will join a diverse and dynamic interdisciplinary team working on the interactions between the gut microbiota and human health and the development of biocontrol strategies. The workplan will involve training in state-of-the-art techniques from experienced scientists, and the applicant will also have the opportunity to interact with related projects on the human gut microbiome. We are looking for a highly self-motivated individual who is capable of independent thinking with an aptitude for laboratory work and a strong interest in microbiology, analytical chemistry and biochemistry.

The Norwich Research Park Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (NRPDTP) is open to UK and international candidates for entry October 2021 and offers postgraduates the opportunity to undertake a 4-year PhD research project whilst enhancing professional development and research skills through a comprehensive training programme. You will join a vibrant community of world-leading researchers. All NRPDTP students undertake a three-month professional internship placement (PIPS) during their study. The placement offers exciting and invaluable work experience designed to enhance professional development. Full support and advice will be provided by our Professional Internship team. Students with, or expecting to attain, at least an upper second class honours degree, or equivalent, are invited to apply.

This project has been shortlisted for funding by the NRPDTP programme. Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed on Tuesday 25th January, Wednesday 26th January and Thursday 27th January 2022.

Visit our website for further information on eligibility and how to apply:

Our partners value diverse and inclusive work environments that are positive and supportive. Students are selected for admission without regard to gender, marital or civil partnership status, disability, race, nationality, ethnic origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation, age or social background.

Funding Notes

This project is awarded with a 4-year Norwich Research Park Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (NRPDTP) PhD studentship. The studentship includes payment of tuition fees (directly to the University), a stipend for each year of the studentship (2021/2 stipend rate: £15,609), and a Research Training Support Grant for each year of the studentship of £5,000 p.a.


1. Production of multiple bacteriocins, including the novel bacteriocin gassericin M, by Lactobacillus gasseri LM19, a strain isolated from human milk. Garcia-Gutierrez E, O'Connor PM, Colquhoun IJ, Vior NM, Rodríguez JM, Mayer MJ, Cotter PD, Narbad A. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2020 May;104(9):3869-3884. doi: 10.1007/s00253-020-10493-3.
2. Multifunctional properties of Lactobacillus plantarum strains isolated from fermented cereal foods. Oguntoyinbo F, Narbad A. J Func Foods 2015 17:621-631.
3. Discovery of a novel lantibiotic nisin O from Blautia obeum A2-162, isolated from the human gastrointestinal tract. Hatziioanou D, Gherghisan-Filip C, Saalbach G, Horn N, Wegmann U, Duncan SH, Flint HJ, Mayer MJ, Narbad A. Microbiology-SGM 2017 163(9):1292-1305 doi: 10.1099/mic.0.000515.
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