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Phages in the infant gut: good, bad or neutral? (ADRIAENSSENSQ20DTP1)

   Graduate Programme

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

About the Project

Bacteriophages are the most abundant biological entity on the planet. They can be beneficial for human health by killing off pathogenic bacteria, but phages that integrate into the bacterial chromosome can also be detrimental to human health, by encoding genes that make the bacteria more virulent. The presence of different types of phages in the infant gut can, therefore, have widely varying conseqeunces for long-term health, an aspect of the microbiome that is currently vastly understudied.

We are recruiting a student on a funded project at the Quadram Institute Bioscience (QIB) on the role phages play in the establishment of the gut microbiota, particularly focused on beneficial bifidobacteria. The student will join the team of Dr Evelien Adriaenssens, an expert in phage biology, and that of Dr Lindsay Hall, an expert in the infant gut microbiome. In this project, the student will use established methods to discover new bacteriophages against bifidobacteria and investigate their effects on natural bacterial communities in the infant gut through model systems and next-generation sequencing.

The ideal candidate has at a minimum an Upper Second class Honours degree (or equivalent), experience working in a microbiology lab and most importantly a passion for bacteriophage research. The PhD student will be based in the new purpose-built Quadram Institute building, located on the Norwich Research Park, where they will join a vibrant research community at the interface between fundamental and translational research into gut microbiology, health and disease. The QIB offers a wide range of training opportunities for its student cohort, laboratory and computational scientific support and funding to attend national and international conferences, preparing the student for any career of their choice.

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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