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Determination of the potential of yeast derived functional feed additives to alleviate enteritis, a dietary induced pathology, in aquacultured fish species

Faculty of Science and Engineering

About the Project

Applications are invited for a three-year PhD studentship in the School of Biological and Marine Sciences, commencing 1st October 2021. The programme is co-funded by the School of Biological and Marine Sciences and Leiber GmbH.

Director of Studies: Dr Daniel Merrifield, Associate Professor of Fish Health and Nutrition

Second supervisor: Dr Victor Kuri, Lecturer in Food Quality

Project Description 

One of the greatest global challenges we face is ensuring food security for our rapidly growing population. Fish farming is the most efficient animal food production system, contributing over half of the world’s seafood with output growing at ca. 5% per year. In order to meet growing demand in a sustainable manner, aquafeed formulations are evolving rapidly. This research seeks to gain a better understanding of the potential of yeast-derived functional feed additives to reduce intestinal inflammatory pathologies in fish. The programme of research will answer a number of applied and fundamental biological questions. Specific programme objectives are to investigate the effects of functional feed additives on intestinal mucosal tolerance and microbiome structure, and to elucidate the impacts of localised intestinal level modulations on whole fish performance, health and welfare.

The candidate will develop multidisciplinary benchtop skills and sound experience of animal husbandry, immunology, histopathology, molecular biology and bioinformatics. Working at the academia-industry interface will provide the candidate with opportunities to develop creative and scientific thinking as well as understanding of commercialisation and delivering real world impact to key stakeholders.


Applicants should have a first or upper second class honours degree in an appropriate subject and preferably a relevant Masters qualification. Experience of working with fish or aquaria is desirable. 

The studentship is supported for three years and includes full tuition fees (whether Home or International) plus a stipend of £15,609 per annum.

If you wish to discuss this project further informally, please contact Dr Daniel Merrifield, .

For further information on research studentships at the University of Plymouth and to apply for this position please visit: and select the studentship you would like to apply for. Please clearly state the name of the studentship that you are applying for on your personal statement.

Please see here for a list of supporting documents to upload with your application. Additionally, for this studentship, a two-page covering letter stating why you would like to undertake this PhD and evidencing your suitability for the studentship should be included.

For more information on the admissions process generally, please contact  .  

The closing date for applications is 12 noon on 28 May 2021. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview in mid-June (dates tbc). We regret that we are not be able to respond to all applications. Applicants who have not received a response within six weeks of the closing date should consider their application has been unsuccessful on this occasion. 

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