Engineering synthetic circuits within bacteria to sense and control the gut microbiome

   Department of Infectious Disease

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  Dr D Riglar  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

We are seeking a PhD student to join our team at the Riglar Lab ( on an exciting project engineering microbes as sensors and modulators of the gut microbiome and gut disease.

The trillions of microbes that make up the human gut microbiome have been increasingly recognised as central players in health and disease. Alterations to the microbiome are linked to infection, metabolic disease, neuro-inflammatory disorders and cancer. Engineered microbes represent an exciting frontier for disease understanding. They are also an untapped resource for medical interventions. 

In this project, we will utilise a combination of synthetic biology, imaging and sequencing- based approaches to develop engineered bacterial biosensors for monitoring and control of the mammalian gut microbiome. The position may include working with rodent animal models.

You will join an inclusive research team with a focus on both scientific achievement and personal growth ( We are based in the Section for Structural and Synthetic Biology within the Department of Infectious Disease at Imperial College London’s vibrant South Kensington Campus in central London. Our lab broadly undertakes interdisciplinary research seeking to understand the dynamics of host-microbiome interactions during disease. We are also affiliated with the Imperial College Centre for Synthetic Biology and Innovation and The Francis Crick Institute.

The project is projected to start October 2024.

How to apply: Please send your CV and a covering letter describing why you are suitable for the studentship and interested in the project and lab, along with the details of two referees to Dr David Riglar [Email Address Removed] by 8th December 2023. 

Applicants must have, or expect to gain, a First or Upper Second class undergraduate degree in Synthetic Biology, Molecular Biology, Microbiology or other related field. A Masters degree is desirable but not required. Applicants are also required to meet Imperial College’s English language requirements. Please see the following link:

We strongly encourage applications from women and those from a diverse set of backgrounds that are currently underrepresented within academic research.

We will ensure that individuals with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodation to participate in the job application or interview process, to perform essential job functions, and to receive other benefits and privileges of employment.

For further details on the role please contact: Dr David Riglar – [Email Address Removed]

Biological Sciences (4)

Funding Notes

The studentship is funded for 3.5 years and covers home tuition fees and a stipend commensurate with UKRI rates (currently £20,622 per annum).


Robinson et al. 2023. bioRxiv.
Riglar et al. 2019. Nature Communications.
Naydich et al. 2019. mSystems.
Riglar et al. 2018. Nat Rev Microbiol.
Riglar et al. 2017. Nat Biotechnol.
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