Influence of the gut microbiome on inter-individual differences in blood pressure at fasting and in response to a combined glycaemic and lipaemic test meal challenge
Research Division: Department of Twin Research & Genetic Epidemiology, Division of Genetics & Molecular Medicine
To start: 01/10/2019
Dr Cristina Menni
Dr Sarah Berry
Project summary: Metabolites, Microbiome, Diet and cardiometabolic health PhD studentship
Hypertension is a major cause of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in the UK. Animal and small human studies suggest that the gut microbiota and its metabolites act on downstream cellular targets to prevent/contribute to the pathogenesis of hypertension. The gut microbiota composition is linked to various disease states and is modifiable by dietary and therapeutic interventions. In humans, we recently reported a correlation between gut microbiota composition and arterial stiffness in women, which is minimally mediated by metabolic syndrome parameters and c-reactive protein. Importantly post-prandial increases in BP have been shown to be a marker of arteriosclerosis and a recent study by Zeevi and collaborators found high interpersonal variability in the post-meal glucose response to identical meals which was related to microbiome composition. In light of the above, we hypothesise that the gut microbiome also affects BP post-prandial response partly mediated by its metabolites. This PhD will investigate the relationship between the gut microbiome and its metabolites, diet, and continuous ambulatory BP by using the most characterised sample available to date. It will characterise bacterial species and pathways involved in fasting and postprandial blood pressure integrating faecal metabolomics information, and seek to understand the interaction with diet.
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.
TwinsUK is probably the most intensively studied group in the world with a wide range of omic technologies already measured. 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 researcher would also work closely with the Department of Nutritional Sciences (DNS), King’s College London. The DNS is a world leading nutritional sciences research department with specialist research facilities for running human dietary intervention studies and specialised laboratory analysis.
The successful candidates should have at least a BSc or equivalent in the areas of bio-informatics, statistics or mathematical sciences. A background knowledge of nutrition and dietary assessment is desirable. The project’s main focus will be on quantitative analyses of microbiome, metabolites, ambulatory blood pressure and diet and will involve statistical analyses. The position will be based at King’s College London on the St Thomas’ Campus.
The Studentship is open to UK & EU candidates. The funding also covers tuition fees at the EU (Home) rate. Applications from outside the EU are welcome provided candidates can source funding to cover the overseas fees.
Informal enquiries can be made in the first instance to Dr Cristina Menni or Dr Sarah Berry.
To apply, please send to your CV, details of two academic referees and a supporting statement outlining why you are applying quoting project ID.
Award: A 3 year PhD studentship
Sponsor: Chronic Disease Research Foundation
Stipend Year 1: £16,553
Stipend Year 2: £16,818
Stipend Year 3: £17,087