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Investigating the role of the microbiome in infection and health outcomes following renal transplantation

   School of Pharmacy

  Dr Stephen Kelly,  Applications accepted all year round  Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Many infections and disease states are closely linked to associated microbiomes, either of the patient themselves or the surrounding clinical environment. From the gut to the skin, microbes play a huge role in maintaining health and contributing to disease, either directly via infections, or by indirect means. Infection following kidney transplant surgery represents an important healthcare problem, with colonisation of medical devices such as ureteric stents of particular concern. Recent research has suggested the microbiome may even play a critical role in determining the successful outcome of renal transplantation. Despite these advances, much is still unknown about the relationships between the renal-associated microbiome and health outcomes in transplant patients. The successful candidate will join a dynamic research group focused on the analysis and functional characterisation of microbiomes from clinical settings, to help investigate the link between the microbiome and infectious disease following kidney transplantation. This project builds on an exciting collaboration between the School of Pharmacy and renal transplant clinicians in Belfast City Hospital. Project aims will be achieved using a combination of DNA extraction and sequence analysis using bioinformatic methods, alongside basic microbiology and culture-based techniques for the cultivation of clinically-relevant microorganisms. Full technical training will be provided, with opportunities to attend international conferences in the research area, ensuring the successful candidate is well prepared for a career in a variety of sectors.

The successful candidate will be trained in microbiology, including both culture-dependent and independent approaches, molecular biology techniques including molecular cloning, and microbial bioinformatics for analysis of large DNA datasets, as well as project management and data analysis training. Training received during this studentship will ensure the successful candidate possesses a comprehensive skillset, of high relevance to a career in a clinical microbiology setting, industry or in academia.

Attendance at international conferences, including the opportunity for conference presentations. Publication in international, peer-reviewed journals. Important clinical collaboration opportunities and potential application of novel discoveries.

Home applicants must meet the following academic criteria:

1st or 2.1 honours degree in a relevant subject. Relevant subjects include Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Biochemistry, Biological/Biomedical Sciences, Chemistry, Engineering, or a closely related discipline.

International applicants must meet the following academic criteria:

IELTS (or equivalent) of 7.0, a 2.1 honours degree (or equivalent) and a master’s degree in a relevant subject.

Funding Notes

Department for the Economy studentships are open for applications to Home and International applicants for October 2023 entry. Eligibility and funding information is available here: View Website

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