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Exploring the relationship between gut microbes, phages, metabolites and cardiometabolic health using computational methods


   Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine

   Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Metabolomics and the gut microbiome are intricately involved in the risk of metabolic diseases. Moreover, there is increasing evidence that metabolites produced by the gut microbiota, such as short-chain fatty acids, bile acids and branch-chain amino acids, are responsible for several metabolic conditions including insulin resistance, diabetes and obesity, thus mediating microbial effects on human health. Likewise, the gut bacterial communities and their activities can be altered by viruses, including phages, making these biological entities important regulators of the host’s health. For instance, gut virome alterations have been associated with a wide range of diseases. However, the impact of the gut virome on the metabolome and health is still scarce. The objective of this PhD studentship is to identify the contribution of the gut microbiome, virome, and metabolome to cardio-metabolic disease and to investigate their interactions. This will provide a better understand the underlying mechanisms of phage-host interactions and their impact on the human host. 

The PhD student will analyse available data from TwinsUK, a register of UK twins, and from the post-prandial nutritional intervention study ZOE PREDICT-1. These two studies provide a wealth of existing data, including blood and faecal metabolomics, the gut microbiome (shotgun metagenome), detailed cardiometabolic phenotyping at multiple time points, dietary information and post-prandial responses. The virome analysis will be supervised in collaboration with Prof. Li Deng at the Technical University of Munich and Helmholtz Centre Munich in Germany.

Seeking highly motivated early career researchers with a strong statistical/mathematical/bio-informatics background for a PhD studentship in human metabolomics/microbiome at the Department of Twin Research & Genetic Epidemiology, King’s College London. The Department has close links with Divisional and other Research Departments within King’s College, as well as many external Research Organisations. Our group includes over 60 researchers and produces over 70 papers per year in high impact factor journals including Nature, Cell and Nature Genetics and are ranked in the world top 1% of cited scientists. The PhD student will also work in close collaboration with the Deng lab in Munich, that has developed an integrative approach combining single-cell technologies, culture-independent techniques, multi-omics, machine learning, as well as their developed pipeline called ViroProfiler (https://github.com/deng-lab/viroprofiler) to analyse viral metagenomic data.

The successful candidates should have at least a BSc or equivalent in the areas of bio-informatics, statistics or mathematical sciences. The project’s main focus will be on quantitative analyses of microbiome, the virome and metabolites and will involve statistical analyses. The position will be based at King’s College London on the St Thomas’ Campus.

Visit the studentship webpage for details on how to apply: Exploring the relationship between gut microbes, phages, metabolites and cardiometabolic health using computational methods (kcl.ac.uk)


Funding Notes

Stipend: Year 1: £22,564 Year 2: £23,692 Year 3: £24,877Total: £71,133

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