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Investigating the role of gut microbes in regulating hallmarks of Ageing

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Sunday, December 01, 2019
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

A PhD Studentship is available at the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences, under the supervision of Dr Filipe Cabreiro (Host-Microbe Co-Metabolism Group).

Animals typically live in close association with commensal and symbiotic microbes (the holobiont). Recent studies have revealed that the metabolic status of the gut microbiota can determine nutrition-related syndromes such as obesity and type-2 diabetes, and perhaps ageing(Bana and Cabreiro 2019; Pryor et al. 2019; Cabreiro et al. 2013). However, to-date we know very little about how such interactions are regulated. In fact, the suspected role of host-microbiota interactions in human disease and regulation of metabolism is largely derived from observational and computational studies, and it is often difficult to establish whether changes in microbiota are cause or effect of pathology. Therefore, we lack a deep understanding of how microorganisms can precisely regulate the response of key components in metabolic health and longevity in humans.

To address this question, our lab developed high-throughput screening pipelines (Pryor et al. 2019; Scott et al. 2017) with the potential to unravel complex diet-drug-microbe-host interactions. Further, our research combines a tractable genetic ageing research model - the nematode C. elegans and other models such as human cell lines and rodents for studying evolutionarily conserved processes that can be translated to humans. The student will employ classical and advanced microbial genomics, high-throughput genomic/chemical screens with targeted metabolomics at the meta-organism level and a systems computational approach to identify mechanisms in both bacteria and host cells (e.g. signalling/biochemical pathways) that regulate host physiology and ageing.

To Apply: Please visit our website ( to download an application form.

Funding Notes

This project is one of multiple available projects potentially funded by the MRC. If successful the studentship would cover all tuition fee payments and includes a tax-free stipend amounting to £21,000pa (paid in monthly installments directly to the student) for 3.5 years.

Whilst this funding is available to students worldwide, due to the higher tuition fee rate of overseas students competition is higher and so only exceptional OS applicants will be considered.


Bana, B., and F. Cabreiro. 2019. 'The Microbiome and Aging', Annu Rev Genet.

Cabreiro, F., C. Au, K. Y. Leung, N. Vergara-Irigaray, H. M. Cocheme, T. Noori, D. Weinkove, E. Schuster, N. D. Greene, and D. Gems. 2013. 'Metformin retards aging in C. elegans by altering microbial folate and methionine metabolism', Cell, 153: 228-39.

Pryor, R., P. Norvaisas, G. Marinos, L. Best, L. B. Thingholm, L. M. Quintaneiro, W. De Haes, D. Esser, S. Waschina, C. Lujan, R. L. Smith, T. A. Scott, D. Martinez-Martinez, O. Woodward, K. Bryson, M. Laudes, W. Lieb, R. H. Houtkooper, A. Franke, L. Temmerman, I. Bjedov, H. M. Cocheme, C. Kaleta, and F. Cabreiro. 2019. 'Host-Microbe-Drug-Nutrient Screen Identifies Bacterial Effectors of Metformin Therapy', Cell, 178: 1299-312 e29.

Scott, T. A., L. M. Quintaneiro, P. Norvaisas, P. P. Lui, M. P. Wilson, K. Y. Leung, L. Herrera-Dominguez, S. Sudiwala, A. Pessia, P. T. Clayton, K. Bryson, V. Velagapudi, P. B. Mills, A. Typas, N. D. E. Greene, and F. Cabreiro. 2017. 'Host-Microbe Co-metabolism Dictates Cancer Drug Efficacy in C. elegans', Cell, 169: 442-56 e18.

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