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Functional assessment of the human gut microbiome

About This PhD Project

Project Description

"The gut is inhabited by trillions of bacteria known to impact on health and disease. There is a growing body of evidence supporting the involvement of the gut microbiota in a number of health conditions, however, there is still much to learn regarding its capacity to affect host health, the influence of diet, and the mechanisms in which these occur. Microbial and metabolic phenotyping approaches provide us with an opportunity to study this unique complex gut ecosystem in more detail, and gain better insight into diet-gut microbiota-host interactions and their subsequent impact on human health.

A 3-year PhD studentship position is available at the University of Reading (covering UK/EU tuition fees, a UKRI level stipend and research expenses), focussed on functional assessment of the gut microbiota using microbial and metabolic phenotyping approaches, and gaining a better understanding of the mechanisms by which dietary interventions (e.g. pre-, pro- or synbiotics, or functional foods) can improve health outcomes through modulation of the gut microbiota. This studentship will be supervised by Dr Anisha Wijeyesekera (Lecturer in Human Microbiome, Diet and Health) and Professor Glenn Gibson (Professor of Food Microbiology and Head of the Food Microbial Sciences Unit).

The successful applicant will have (or expect to hold by October 2019), a Masters postgraduate degree in a life or physical sciences subject, biomedical sciences, bioinformatics or an equivalent field. Outstanding candidates possessing an appropriate undergraduate degree may also be considered.

The Food Microbial Sciences Unit have extensive expertise and experience in studying the gut microbiome, and dietary manipulations to enhance function through modulation of the gut microbiota (using in vitro gut models and human trials) followed by molecular phenotypic analysis for assessment of the impact of interventions on human health. Full training in all laboratory and computational analysis will be provided, but applicants with experience in systems biology analytical approaches and functional foods would be advantageous.

For informal enquiries and application please contact the supervisors listed above. Applications should include a covering letter, full CV (stating your nationality) and contact details of two referees one of whom must be academic. Expected start date: 1st October 2019."

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