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  GW4 BioMed2 MRC DTP PhD project: Genetic signatures of parasitism in clinically important strains of a gastrointestinal parasite

   Department of Life Sciences

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  Dr Vicky Hunt  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

About the Project

This project is one of a number that are in competition for funding from the GW4 BioMed2 MRC Doctoral Training Partnership which is offering up to 20 studentships for entry in September 2024.

The DTP brings together the Universities of Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter to develop the next generation of biomedical researchers. Students will have access to the combined research strengths, training expertise and resources of the four research-intensive universities. More information may be found on the DTP’s website.

Supervisory Team:

  • Dr Vicky Hunt (lead), University of Bath, Department of Life Sciences
  • Dr Hans Nuetzmann, University of Exeter, Department of Biosciences

The Project:

Strongyloides stercoralis is a gastrointestinal parasitic nematode that infects >600 million globally and can be asymptomatic or can cause a range of gastrointestinal and skin complaints. In some cases e.g. where the patient is treated with immunosuppressants, a hyperinfection can occur which can be fatal. The aim of this project is to identify genetic signatures e.g. particular genes, mutations or patterns of gene organisation that are associated with the severity and sympotoms of S. stercoralis infection. We will use S. stercoralis nematodes from infected patients along with matched clinical data. This project will also investigate genotype-phenotype associations using a lab-based model for Strongyloides infection.

The student will join the Hunt parasitology lab (University of Bath) and the Nuetzmann genomics lab (University of Exeter). This work will involve both lab-based approaches including molecular biology and CRISPR/Cas9 and computational analysis such as genome analysis. Full training will be provided in all aspects of the project. This project is part of a collaborative project and there will be potential opportunities for the student to visit the labs of the collaborators in Italy and Australia.  

Interested applicants are encouraged to contact the supervisory team before applying: Vicky Hunt [Email Address Removed] and Hans Wilhelm Nuetzmann [Email Address Removed]


Applicants must have obtained, or be expected to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class UK Honours degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in an area appropriate to the skills requirements of the project. Academic qualifications are considered alongside significant relevant non-academic experience.

Non-UK applicants will also be required to have met the English language entry requirements of the University of Bath.

Enquiries and Applications:

Informal enquiries are welcomed and should be directed to Dr Vicky Hunt on email address [Email Address Removed]

Formal applications must be submitted direct to the GW4 BioMed2 DTP using their online application form

A list of all available projects and guidance on how to apply may be found on the DTP’s website. You may apply for up to 2 projects.


IMPORTANT: You do NOT need to apply to the University of Bath at this stage – only those applicants who are successful in obtaining an offer of funding from the DTP will be required to submit an application for an offer of study from Bath.

Biological Sciences (4)

Funding Notes

Candidates may be considered for a 4-year GW4 BioMed2 MRC DTP studentship covering tuition fees, a stipend (£18, 622 p.a. for 2023/24) and a Research & Training Support grant of between £2,000 and £5,000 p/a dependent on project requirements. Studentships are open to both Home and International students; however, International applicants should note that funding does NOT cover the cost of a student visa, healthcare surcharge and other costs of moving to the UK. In line with guidance from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the number of awards available to International candidates will be limited to 30% of the total.