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Epigenetics: the link between early-life host-microbiome interactions and long-term respiratory problems

Project Description

Respiratory health problems such as infections and asthma are leading causes of morbidity and mortality in young children. Prematurely born children are especially at risk of recurrent and severe respiratory infections in the first years of life, and of developing asthma in the following years. In recent years it has become clear that the human microbiome plays an important role in pathogen-resistance, immune-maturation and immune modulation. Moreover, it has been shown that early-life infections lead to epigenetic modifications of immunomodulating genes, and in other studies that epigenetic modifications of immunomodulating genes are associated with asthma. In this project we aim to study how accumulating harmful early-life events affect epigenetic alterations and thereby respiratory health in preterm infants.

The research group is located in the University of Edinburgh Centre for Inflammation Research; a world-class research environment at the interface between biological and medical science, with multidisciplinary groupings focused on inflammation, infection, disease and repair. The Centre is based within the Edinburgh Medical School in the outstanding facilities of the Queen’s Medical Research Institute at the site of the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh hospital, maximising future translational opportunities.

Funding Notes

The successful applicant will be awarded a 3-year studentship, which includes their stipend and tuition fees (at UK rate) and contributions towards research costs for their PhD project.

The studentship will be awarded competitively. Applicants should hold at least an upper second class degree or equivalent in a relevant discipline (eg immunology, biochemistry, biology, microbiology/infectious diseases). Applicants should submit the following documents to : (i) Personal statement about their research interests and their reasons for applying; and (ii) CV.


Applicants should also arrange for two academic referees to submit letters of reference via email before the deadline. All documents should be submitted no later than 5pm on 15 March 2019. Short-listed candidates will be notified by email.
Informal enquiries can be sent via email to [email protected]

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