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PhD Industrial CASE studentship in computational modelling of the Human Microbiome

  • Full or part time
    Prof F Falciani
    Dr Alistair Darby
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, March 15, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

Project Description

Project title: - Development and application of computational network approaches for modelling the Human Microbiome

We offer a PhD studentship focusing on the development and application of computational network approaches for modelling the Human Microbiome1,2.

Through technological advances in DNA sequencing, functional genomics and computational biology, it is becoming increasingly evident that the human microbiome plays a pivotal role in the maintenance of health and the pathogenesis of disease. Recent developments have highlighted the potential of network biology to “reverse engineer” the ecology of microbial community from such microbiome data.

The overall objective of this project is to develop and apply novel computational methods to analyse a wide spectrum of microbiome datasets with a focus to investigate the role of bacterial communities in maintaining the homeostasis of body sites such as the skin or oral cavity.

The student will face the challenge of developing and testing new strategies for analysing microbiome data, a novel emerging area of biology with broad application.

By applying advance inference methods3 to large observational datasets and by studying the genome sequence of the bacterial species in the microbiome, the student will generate hypothesis on the mechanisms of interaction between bacteria and unravel the overall structure of the community.

The ideal candidate will need to show analytical numerical skills gained either at an undergraduate or master’s degree course.

Applications will be reviewed until 15th March 2019

The PhD is expected to start in October 2019

Funding Notes

Jointly funded by the BBSRC (under the 'Industrial CASE' scheme) and Unilever R&D.

The studentship covers full UK tuition fees and attract an annual stipend at BBSRC rate, supplemented of £4000/year.


1. Jack A Gilbert, Martin J Blaser, J Gregory Caporaso, Janet K Jansson, Susan V Lynch & Rob Knight Current understanding of the human microbiome Nature Medicine volume 24, pages 392–400 (2018)

2. S. E. Adams, D. Arnold, B. Murphy, P. Carroll, A. K. Green, A. M. Smith, P. D. Marsh, T. Chen, R. E. Marriott, M. G. Brading A randomised clinical study to determine the effect of a toothpaste containing enzymes and proteins on plaque oral microbiome ecology Sci Rep. 2017; 7: 43344. Published online 2017 Feb 27.

3. Kim Clarke et al. The Role of Eif6 in Skeletal Muscle Homeostasis Revealed by Endurance Training Co-expression Networks Cell Rep. 2017 Nov 7; 21(6): 1507–1520.

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