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Studentship with enhanced clinical rate stipend - Use of a microbiome signature to determine health, productivity and welfare status in dairy cattle


   School of Veterinary Medicine

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  Prof R La Ragione, Dr M Betson  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Applications are invited for a prestigious three-year University of Surrey (School of Veterinary Medicine), Zoetis, University of Glasgow, Universidade Federal de Goiás and University of Liverpool fully funded PhD studentship, commencing in October 2022. The focus on dairy cattle health, welfare and productivity remains high, specifically with recent concerns regarding food security, dairy cattle welfare and antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The faecal and oral microbiomes may be a good indicators of health status and could be used to help improve cattle welfare and productivity. Therefore, this study will evaluate the oral and faecal microbiomes of healthy, diseased and productive vs not productive dairy cattle in the UK and Brazil. 

The student will work with academic, farming and clinical colleagues to sample dairy cattle across the UK and in Brazil to determine how the oral and faecal microbiomes can be used as indicators of health, welfare and productivity in dairy cattle at different stages in their life cycle. The study will also aim to correlate differences in microbiomes with clinical disease outcomes such as periodontitis.

This exceptional research opportunity requires a candidate with an interest in microbiology and welfare and who holds a degree in veterinary medicine that is registrable with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (MRCVS). The project will involve microbiology-based laboratory work, together with field work and metagenomic data analysis. Therefore, a sound understanding of microbiology is required and some background in farm animal practice and epidemiology and/or bioinformatics would be highly desirable. However, if required, full training will be provided.

The successful applicant will be registered with the University of Surrey and based in the School of Veterinary Medicine (Guildford), with field work undertaken in farms and abattoirs across the UK. Occasional visits to the University of Glasgow and University of Liverpool will be required. Some overseas travel may also be required.

Supervisors: Professor Roberto La Ragione (University of Surrey), Dr Martha Betson (University of Surrey), Professor Marcello Riggio (University of Glasgow).                                                                                                                                                      

Advisors: Professor Georgios Oikonomou, (University of Liverpool), Dr Ana Borsanelli (UFG), Professor David Bennett and Dr Lorenzo Viora (University of Glasgow) and Mr Matthew Williams (Zoetis).

Entry requirements

Open to UK students starting in January 2023.

Degree in veterinary medicine that is registrable with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (MRCVS).

English language requirements: IELTS Academic 6.5 or above (or equivalent) with 6.0 in each individual category, or equivalent. More about our English language requirements.

How to apply

Apply via the Veterinary Medicine and Science PhD programme page.

Please clearly state the studentship title and supervisor on your application.


Funding Notes

Fully funded, including fees, stipend and training. Funded by the University of Surrey and Zoetis. Funding is for 3 years.
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