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Microbiota and vascular health (ROBINSONQ20DTP)

   Graduate Programme

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  Dr S Robinson  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Angiogenesis is the formation of blood vessels from pre-existing vessels. Angiogenesis is essential for maintaining healthy physiological processes and for the revascularisation of tissues following an injury. Our research group focuses on investigating the molecular and cellular processes that govern angiogenesis. Using antibiotics to modify the gut microbiota, we have identified a novel role for the microbiota in regulating angiogenesis; compromised microbial homeostasis inhibits developmental vascularisation of the developing mouse retina.

The goal of this PhD studentship is to determine how antibiotics that are used commonly in early life programme host responses that affect both vascular development and vascular health (e.g. response to vascular injuries). In in vivo mouse models, we will explore how antibiotics affect overall: (1) immune system programming; (2) microbiota homeostasis; (3) neo-vascularisation of the retina; and (4) responses to oxygen induced retinopathy (e.g. response to vascular injury). Importantly, we will also explore the development of live biotherapeutic products specifically designed to maintain vascular health and/or re-store microbiota/host homeostasis after antibiotic usage. This project would give the student experience in a wide range of cross-disciplinary techniques, including working with mice, flow-cytometry, immuno-fluorescent labelling of tissue sections, shotgun whole genome sequencing (metagenomics), RNA-seq, and bio-informatics.

This project offers students an opportunity to work in a dynamic laboratory environment, in a research institute with excellent facilities and resources for undertaking a wide variety of biomedical research techniques. This opportunity for a studentship is available for exceptional candidates with an interest in cell biology, molecular biology, developmental biology, and/or vascular biology.

This project has been shortlisted for funding by the Norwich Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (NRPDTP). Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed as part of the studentship competition. Candidates will be interviewed on either the 7th, 8th or 9th January 2020.

The NRP DTP offers postgraduates the opportunity to undertake a 4-year research project whilst enhancing professional development and research skills through a comprehensive training programme. You will join a vibrant community of world-leading researchers. All NRPDTP students undertake a three-month professional internship (PIPS) during their study. The internship offers exciting and invaluable work experience designed to enhance professional development. Full support and advice will be provided by our Professional Internship team. Students with, or expecting to attain, at least an upper second-class honours degree, or equivalent, are invited to apply.

For further information and to apply, please visit our website:

Funding Notes

For funding eligibility guidance, please visit our website: Full Studentships cover a stipend (2019/0 rate: £15,009pa), research costs and tuition fees at UK/EU rate and are available to UK and EU students who meet the UK residency requirements.

Students from EU countries who do not meet the UK residency requirements may be eligible for a fees-only award. Students in receipt of a fees-only award will be eligible for a maintenance stipend awarded by the NRPDTP Bioscience Doctoral Scholarships. To be eligible students must meet the EU residency requirements.
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