PhD Studentship in Host-Microbial Interaction – Understanding how diet and the microbiome influence health and disease in preterm infants
Number of awards
Start date and duration
Project Start Date: September 2020
The funding covers a three year PhD
Babies born prematurely (<32 weeks gestation) are functionally immature especially in terms of gastrointestinal and immunological activity and at increased risks of serious disease. Over 30% of preterm infants develop necrotising enterocolitis (inflammatory mediated bowel condition) and/or late onset sepsis (bacteria translocating into the blood stream). Together, these diseases account for more deaths per year then all of childhood cancer combined, with survivors suffering significant long-term morbidity including poor growth and cognitive outcomes.
This PhD studentship aims to reduce disease in preterm infants by combining discovering and translational research. The student will generate and analyse multi’omic data from the Great North Neonatal Biobank, which contains >100,000 samples from more than 1000 preterm infants. Associations will be further integrated to determine causality and investigate potential mechanisms using a novel human preterm epithelial co-culture model.
The student will become an important part of a diverse and enthusiastic team. Complete interdisciplinary training will be provided in a range of wet-lab (e.g., microbiology, molecular biology, biochemistry, tissue culture) and bioinformatic/analytical skills. At the conclusion of the project the student will have made an important contribution to the development of novel biomarkers and therapeutics for the detection and prevention of necrotising enterocolitis and late onset sepsis in preterm infants.
The studentship is funded by the Newcastle University Academic Track (NUAcT) Fellowship scheme
Name of supervisor(s)
Dr Christopher J Stewart (https://bit.ly/2UpC0tD), Translational and Clinical Research Institute, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Newcastle University
Dr Christopher Lamb (https://bit.ly/33XvxcE), Translational and Clinical Research Institute, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Newcastle University
Prof Nicholas Embleton (https://bit.ly/39pRsKm), Neonatal consultant, Royal Victoria Infirmary
Dr Janet Berrington, Neonatal consultant, Royal Victoria Infirmary
You must have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree or international equivalent, in a subject relating to microbiology, including biology and biotechnology but other subjects considered. A further qualification such as an MRes or other research experience is advantageous.
This award is available to UK/EU and international applicants.
To study this course you need to meet the following English Language requirements:
IELTS 6.5 overall (with a minimum of 5.5 in all other sub-skills).
Newcastle is committed to promoting diversity, and we particularly encourage applications from under-represented groups. Part-time study option are available.
How to apply
You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application system (https://bit.ly/2Jiyivt).
Only mandatory fields need to be completed. However, you will need to include the following information:
insert the programme code 8300F in the programme of study section
select ‘PhD in the Faculty of Medical Sciences – Biosciences’ as the programme of study
insert the studentship code TC012 in the studentship/partnership reference field
attach a covering letter and CV. The covering letter must state the title of the studentship, quote the studentship reference code TC012 and state how your interests and experience relate to the project
attach degree transcripts and certificates and, if English is not your first language, a copy of your English language qualifications
Please also send a copy of your CV and cover letter to [Email Address Removed]
For further details, please contact:
Dr Christopher Stewart
Translational and Clinical Research Institute
E-mail: [Email Address Removed]
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 282 8578
100% tuition fees paid (UK/EU or international) and annual living expenses of £15,285.